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Building Communities: 5 Takeaways from Frito Lay

Building Communities: 5 Takeaways from Frito Lay

The Challenge: Research from Forrester has found that 90% of consumers distrust brand messaging, including social media. However 70% of consumers believe in recommendations from friends or family. The opportunity for brands: build loyal social communities willing to share useful information with friends.

This trend of mistrust is increasing. Getting consumers to believe your messaging is becoming more challenging all the time. However, companies can break through the trust barrier by building social communities and sharing useful information with their followers. Switching the focus from sales promotions to posting shareable content will increase reach and trust when content is shared with 2nd tier circles.

Innovative Examples

Frito Lay is doing an effective job in building a community of followers that not only like their Facebook page, but are buzzing about the “Do Us a Flavor” contest. The campaign encourages shares and likes while building a community around those who are passionate about their favorite flavor.

They first invited people to send in new potato chip flavor nominations. Three winners were chosen, produced, and made available in grocery stores. Now you can taste the chips and vote for your favorite. Lay’s Facebook page is just shy of 6 million fans and over 40,000 people are talking about Lay’s on Facebook. In addition to the buzz that this contest has created, it is also forming sub-communities on Facebook and shows which of your friends are on each of the three flavor finalist “teams”., provider of diabetes supplies is blazing a trail in uncharted territory for medical companies where it is very rare to build a community of followers in social media due to the sensitive nature of the topic. Yet, in an industry that is highly regulated and monitored for privacy, Medtronics has still been able to gain almost 150,000 Facebook fans willing to share personal stories. They have accomplished this by providing information about diabetes care and creating a platform for patients with diabetes to come together and help each other.


  1. Don’t preach to the choir, fans and followers already know about your brand; convert them into brand ambassadors. Communications should have the goal of having your message shared with others.
  2. Make your message about the consumer, not your brand. (Frito Lay let consumers choose flavors.)
  3. Listen to fans and followers and monitor comments and sentiment.

Looking for a top social tool for your company? Be sure to check out the social tools resource center page, where we’ve compiled product reviews, blog posts and articles on social solutions. Ready to choose a social tool? Browse the industry’s top products in our free social tools reports.

  • Consultant

Ernan Roman

President, Ernan Roman Direct Marketing
Customer Experience Marketing thought leader.
Marketing thought leader. Inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame for creating three transformational methodologies: Voice of Customer Relationship Research, Opt-in Marketing and Integrated Direct Marketing. Named by Crain’s B to B Magazine as one of the "100 most ...