September 11th, 2012

Book Review: The Tasti D-Lite Way

The Tasti D-Lite Way: Social Media Marketing Lessons for Building Loyalty and a Brand Customers Crave is a book at social media from a brand that has actually used social media successfully and continues to innovate in the ways that they use it. It seems that most books about social media are from consultants and agencies, and are highly theoretical. The Tasti D-Lite Way gives examples of specific tools and executions that worked for the brand (I took a ton of notes while reading).

It would be easy to dismiss all the hard work and effort that Tasti D-Lite did for social media by saying that they were already beloved, had a cult following and even a celebrity following. The book’s authors admit this was the situation right at the start of the book. However, throughout the book they talk about building a culture, putting a strategy in place, engaging their community and striving to be on the forefront of technology. You can quickly see that their success in social media cannot be attributed to their pre-existing cult following (though starting with a great product or service is going to be a “must” for any brand to be successful today).

And being a franchised company, they had to work even harder. Franchisees are brand owners, too, but they have so many other things pulling at them as they are running their businesses that it is a challenge to get franchisees educated and engaged in social media. Though each franchisee’s local presence and voice is increasingly important in social media.┬áTasti D-Lite saw how important it was that those franchisees be involved and created ways to make it happen systemwide, consistently.

This franchisee involvement ties into a key message woven throughout the book: the people behind the brand make the difference. The authors talk a lot about building the internal culture at Tasti D-Lite to support the social media efforts and striving to have a truly authentic voice behind the brand. The recognition that transparency, honesty and building trust were first and foremost in their messaging was an important aspect to the Tasti D-Lite social media story. In the authors’ words: “you can’t fake caring.”

I was most impressed with the ways that Tasti D-Lite took social media and technology into the store environment, bridging the digital world with the physical world. From the socially-friendly Tasti Rewards program to the in-store iPad guest book and live digital displays of Yelp reviews, Tasti D-Lite has been truly innovative in digital communications.

I definitely recommend this book for any brand looking to learn more about how social media can work for them.

We will be talking more about this books and its lessons over on the Stone Ward Waiting for the Elevator blog in the coming weeks. Be sure to check in over there to join the conversation.

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Link to book on Amazon