Twinkies connoisseurs rejoice. Hostess on Sunday announced that the spongy yellow confection is returning to shelves on July 15.
Hostess—maker of Twinkies and other treats like Devil Dogs, Ho Hos and Ding Dongs—hit the financial wall last November, which prompted an outcry of brand support.
Once the notion of losing Twinkies became a reality, the public’s emotional connection to the 83-year-old confection became quite palpable. Despite the outcry, Hostess and its beloved products seemed doomed. That is, until Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co. stepped in and bought Hostess’ assets for $410 million.
Twinkies’ revival should serve as a reminder to PR professionals that brands can carry cultural significance. Brands like Twinkies take an emotional hold over us, which can be taken for granted until they’re threatened or off the market altogether.
Indeed, its brief hiatus from America’s diet could strengthen Twinkies’ sales. With that in mind, here are four lessons that PR practitioners can learn from Twinkies’ renaissance:
1. The Internet is a dying brand’s best friend. Even in 2013, many brands still need to be reminded of the numerous benefits that the Internet offers. Don’t think of the platform as an obstacle. Think of it as an opportunity. Hostess may have quietly vanished if there were no Web, but instead received immeasurable support online, which arguably peaked buyers’ interest.
2. Remind people why they fell in love with you in the first place. Decades-old legacy brands like Hostess have the advantage of reaching across generations. Emotional appeals are easier to craft if you can connect a brand to a time or place in a person’s life. Hostess reminds many people of their childhood and fondness for tasty treats. Had the company exploited that fact sooner they might have avoided a financial crisis.
3. Don’t rest on your laurels. While it is important to remind people why they love you, you can’t bank on that alone. If business is bad, then business as usual is a losing strategy. Many older brands can run the risk of being labeled as out of touch because they stick to their existing business models or marketing appeals.
4. Look for changing consumer habits. Healthy living is an increasingly popular lifestyle and Hostess products don’t exactly align well with that philosophy. Still, there were steps the company could have taken to adjust to a new consumer profile, such as modifying some of its ingredients or introducing healthy alternatives.
Follow Caysey Welton: @CayseyW