In its early years Chobani had no money for traditional advertising, so it relied on word-of-mouth recommendation from enthusiastic customers. The brand harnessed consumer passion on social media channels early on and found that people loved the taste of Chobani once they tried it. So in 2010, Chobani kicked off its CHOmobile tour: a mobile vehicle sampling Chobani at events across the country, encouraging consumers to taste Greek yogurt for the first time. As Chobani grew, it began to launch new promotional activities tied to (1) traditional advertising, (2) social media, and (3) direct communication with customers.
In 2011, Chobani launched its first national advertising campaign, “Real Love Stories.” The only problem: apparently it was too successful! The resulting additional consumer demand for Chobani Greek Yogurt exceeded its production capacity, leaving retailers unhappy because of complaining consumers. What did Chobani do then? It stopped the advertising campaign and sent in another Operation Bear Hug team to communicate with retailers. Since then it has run other successful national advertising campaigns, including sponsorship of the 2012 and 2014 U.S. Olympic Teams.
“Social media has been important to Chobani, which has embraced a high-touch model that emphasizes positive communication with its customers,” says Sujean Lee, head of corporate affairs. Today, Chobani’s Customer Loyalty Team receives about 7,000 inbound customer e-mails and phone calls a month and are able to make return phone calls to most of them. Consumers also get a handwritten note. Chobani launched its “Go Real Chobani” campaign in 2013 to highlight that they are a real company making real products and engaging consumers through real conversations.