Some people just manage to maintain their brand’s Twitter account, but Liz Dee of Ce De Candy has taken it to another level. She is leading her family-owned company through the ever-changing trends of social media. Rebecca Pollack met up with Liz at the Sweets & Snacks 2010 Expo in Chicago and learned that the “little guys” are giving consumers something to talk about online.
You are the director of digital media at Ce De Candy, home of Smarties candy, and are finishing your master’s in Media, Culture and Communication at New York University with a focus on Food Studies. How do you find a work-life balance, and how do your work and personal lives overlap?
It’s a good thing I love what I do, because my work, personal and academic lives overlap tremendously. One week I’m live-tweeting from the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago and the next I’m in Bloomington, Ind., for a Food Studies conference panel on new media. The overlap really works for me. Not only do I get to see my whole family while I’m at work — check that off the to-do list — but I also conduct research that is useful for future digital media projects, as well as my forthcoming thesis on candyways.
What is “candyways?”
Candyways is a term I coined to mean candy culture. Like folklorist Don Yoker’s term, “foodways,” it is meant to describe thoughts, behaviors and customs relating to candy. Candy deserves its own term because candy is so different from other foodstuffs in terms of how, when and where we eat it, as well as what it represents to consumers. If you want to know more, you’ll have to wait for the book. Just kidding! Sort of …
How did you gain support from your family-owned company to set up Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as oversee a redesign of the website, Smarties.com?
My family understands the value of having a strong Web and social-media presence, but to do this properly requires constant attention. Thankfully, company leadership allowed me plenty of autonomy to create and execute projects. For buy-in as well as fresh ideas, I try to keep everyone as involved as possible, from the initial brainstorming phase to the final approval. Plenty of communication is key.
I like your new website, particularly that you offer games like digital air hockey. How is that related to Smarties, again?
I’m so glad you like the new website. Our developers actually recently received the “Oustanding Achievement” award by Interactive Media Council for the site, which was really exciting. So, why air hockey? We are all about fun. We want to entertain our site visitors in addition to providing them with information consumers need and want to know, such as nutritional facts.
Consumers update their statuses or tweet that “they are eating Smarties” or “something smells like Smarties.” How are you engaging with these consumers and promoting brand awareness?
Proust wrote volumes inspired by a madeleine cookie, and together, consumers write volumes about Smarties candy. Like Proust, our consumers are inspired by memory and sensory experience. On Twitter, I try to respond to people who write about our product in a way that shows we are listening, we care about them and we appreciate their input. I also post information about the candy, funny photos and whatever else seems to be interesting, fun and of-the-moment on Facebook and Twitter. In short, I spread the Smarties love.
For more candy news, check out NCA SmartBrief.
Image credit, Maica, iStock Photo