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Shmear perfection: An Einstein Bros. Bagels case study

Sometimes it takes a lot more than simply becoming a fan on Facebook to truly realize a company’s motive.

What American bakery chain comes to mind when you hear the word “bagel?” It’s no surprise if you thought of Einstein Bros. Bagels. Now what comes to mind when you hear the word “promotion?” Moving up in the workplace? Sure, but not where I was going. Think. Think harder. Free stuff? Just the answer I was looking for! Perfect.

What sort of perks do consumers look for when they visit a company’s social networking site? A personal connection with the brand? Maybe. It’s hard to measure product satisfaction when you simply click the “Like” button at the top of a Facebook page. A connection with other fans or consumers of the brand? Again, maybe. Although you may not know these people, it can be somewhat satisfying to know that there are others out there who possess similar tastes and interests. That’s the whole point of social networking — to engage with an online audience to discuss topics within particular areas of interest — Right? Underneath it all, however, there’s always that theme of the most frequently asked subconscious question:

“What’s in it for me?”

This is where we come back to the free stuff. Goodies for everyone who becomes a fan of Einstein on Facebook!

Einstein Bros. launched its Facebook page in 2009. It took a few months for the renowned bagel company to reach just under 5,000 fans. At this time, the page was nothing special. Updates were mundane and there was not a whole lot of conversation taking place on the wall. The Chief Concept Officer (CCO) James O’Reilly figured that in order to build the brand’s following, the company must take better advantage of social media. O’Reilly wanted to grow the company’s Facebook presence. Creative Alliance, Einstein’s digital marketing agency, suggested that the company utilize the page to increase its consumer connections on Facebook, a popular platform with the company’s target audience.

We came up with the idea of a direct offer to consumers that would push them into the store, while at the same time attempting to build a community of fans to solicit feedback about the brand and gather their opinions.


The folks at Einstein came up with the idea of offering printable coupons for a free bagel and cream cheese “shmear” for existing and new Facebook fans. At the beginning, the employees working on this project were anxious and perhaps somewhat skeptic. When they launched the promo campaign on January 25, 2010, Einstein saw huge numbers that proved the promotion to be successful. The company was able to multiply its online fan base by 120 times its starting amount.  Following the campaign, participating Einstein bakeries had their best week in sales of the entire year 2010.

I am proud to say that I partook in this campaign. I noticed on my sidebar that tons of my friends all of a sudden became fans of Einstein Bros. on Facebook, so I decided to see what all the hype was about. “Einsten Bros.?” I thought, “I occasionally go there with my parents, but I didn’t think it was that good! Something spectacular must be going on over there.” I went to the page an the first thing I saw was the word “F-R-E-E.” Instinctively, I clicked the “Like” button, printed my coupon, and headed over to Einstein that week. There was a long line that almost went out the door. I’ll have to admit that it was totally worth the wait.

Key results of Einstein’s coupon promotional campaign only enhance the support of this process:

  • Before the campaign began in January 2010, Einstein Bros. only had 5,000 fans of its page on Facebook. At the end of the week during which the campaign was launched, there was a 1,000% increase in its number of fans. The company now had over 50,000 fans who enjoyed a free bagel.
  • One day later, the number of fans was multiplied by 6, increasing to 300,000 in 24 hours.
  • As months came along, Einstein continued to make offered to its Facebook fans. They used geo-targeting to reach out to those who were eligible for offers in specific stores. The fan base eventually grew to a whopping 600,000. Einstein Bros. currently serves nearly 630,000 Facebook users.

This goes to show that customer satisfaction can be challenging, but if strategies are planned out correctly and if companies utilize their resources efficiently (e.g., social media), great things can happen for a brand. Einstein Bros. Bagels marketed their efforts towards a very successful advertising campaign that boomed sales and put smiles on hundreds of thousands of hungry people’s faces.

Now that’s what I call “Darn good” marketing!


Locks of love

If there’s one part of me I wish would never change, it would be my hair. I dread the day I discover my first gray.

I take pride in my hair. I twirl it, comb my fingers through it, smell it, braid it, and brush it constantly. I hate putting it back in a ponytail (like it is now) all day because I can’t get the full effect of this mass of tresses. My hair is exactly 19″ in length. It grows like grass in the summertime. Every time I see my mom, she asks me if I’ve been eating fertilizer. Nope, I just eat a Flintstone vitamin once a day. Oh, and I do the Herbal.

According to the salon I used to go to when I was all into the highlighting and dyeing kick, my hair is a mixture of espresso and auburn. I’m so over coloring my hair. I have made a vow to myself that I won’t dye it until that aforementioned dreaded day. I used to hate my hair (I secretly wanted to be blonde). Sometimes I still do hate it because there is an awkward kink in it from elastic ties and it never falls the same way. However, I have grown to embrace it. Its rich color and unattainable length are what I love most about it. My hair says a lot about me, and I can’t go anywhere without my friends commenting on its length. Yes, I’m well aware my hair is freaking long. No, I don’t have split ends… not anything noticeable at least.

Back in high school, my hair was even longer than it is now. When I cheered, my ponytail would sweep the floor as I flipped and flipped and flipped across the basketball court. When I would be sitting in class and a hair would land on my desk, I would be so enthralled by the strand and become distracted. One day, my AP English teacher caught me playing with a string of hair and called me “Cearapunzel.” The name stuck. And I didn’t mind it one bit.

I always hear girls complain about their hair: split ends, bleach gone wrong, bad perm, frizz, dullness, lifelessness, weird part, awkward hairline, dark roots, or crappy pampering products. Have no fear, chicas! There are lots of miracle products out there that can save your mane. Quick Tip: I usually venture to Sephora or Sally Beauty Supply for my favorite products, but drugstores and wholesalers carry a lot of awesome stuff, too.

And now… Hair products Ceara swears by:

Herbal Essences None of Your Frizziness Leave-In Conditioner
Smells fresh, never sticky or greasy, a quarter size dollop (even for my length of hair) goes a long way. I use this every single day. I’m thinking about stocking up on this magic potion in case they discontinue it, which I hope never happens!
Redken Satinwear 02 Ultimate Blow-Dry Lotion
My recently discovered savior. My mom would freak out when I would blow dry my hair with no protective lotion… I learned quickly that it makes a world of a difference when I actually use something to protect the follicle. Leaves my hair schilky-schmooth all day long.
TRESemme Fresh Start Dry Shampoo
Sometimes when I’m in a time crunch and don’t have time to wash my hair, I lather this wonder foam throughout my hair and PRESTO! Insta-soft-hair-sans-H2O.

I’m always willing to try new products, but I do some research before and ALWAYS read the back of the bottle.

Ladies (and gents), you’re not going to have your hair forever. Grow it long and be proud of it! Actually guys, for Pete’s sake, shags are so 2000-and-late.

“The hair is the richest ornament of women.” – Martin Luther