the sweet taste of success
Hudsonville Ice Cream has a long tradition of making delicious ice cream flavors, dating back to its beginnings in 1926. Exemplifying the full power of the Modern PR Mix, Identity contributed to greater demand for the brand through the development of robust, award-winning integrated strategies, campaigns and activations bolstered by high-impact media and social media exposure.
As this family-owned ice cream maker looked to expand its reach beyond West Michigan to new Midwest markets, they enlisted Identity to elevate the brand and its voice through campaign creation, media stories, event activations, social media, advertising and couponing strategies—leading to more engaged ice cream lovers across the region.
strategy for success
Identity deployed the following strategies and tactics to achieve success for Hudsonville:
little debbie x hudsonville lineup launch
To celebrate the launch of the newest lineup of Little Debbie inspired flavors from Hudsonville Ice Cream, Identity tapped its lifestyle/food-focused media contacts nationally and in local markets (including Michigan, Chicago, the Midwest and other top 10 media markets across the U.S.) beginning Jan. 25, 2022, aligned with the publication of the social announcement on Hudsonville Ice Cream feeds. Our strategy centered on Hudsonville channels owning this announcement while simultaneously taking the announcement national to all influential and targeted outlets, leading to placements in USA Today, People, Food & Wine, Southern Living, NBC, Fox News, Elite Daily, and more. Additionally, Identity tracked hundreds of thousands of public social media mentions of the product lineup in its initial launch week. Our visibility strategy also led to additional awareness of the Little Debbie Collection as we secured placement of the product on prominent food award lists, including the 2022 People Food Awards and Food Network Magazine’s 2022 Supermarket Awards.
Over the course of our partnership, Identity masterfully drove more than 2,100 brand mentions in Michigan, Midwest and national print, digital and broadcast media, encompassing potent awareness and exposure of various Hudsonville Ice Cream campaigns and initiatives. As a result of our expertise, we told amazing media stories ranging from new market entrances and exciting product launches to unique in-person activations and corporate hiring initiatives.
organic and paid social media
With Identity driving social vision and programming, Hudsonville Ice Cream’s social media efforts underwent a massive and meaningful transformation. We overhauled how the brand approached its foundational social media efforts and layered in various paid campaigns to support product launches and customer acquisition efforts as new retail partners and markets came online. This approach was fueled by a sophisticated, multi-market advertising strategy targeting specific customer personas located in zip codes near select retailers. Hudsonville’s social following grew by more than 82,000 fans/followers across its online footprint, leading to millions of engaged fans (and customers). In addition to deploying strategies to help scale Hudsonville’s overall online presence, Identity also managed the direction and production of creative assets on behalf of the brand, resulting in truly “snackable” pieces of content.
Identity managed a variety of annual and seasonal paid advertising buys on behalf of Hudsonville Ice Cream, including PPC and paid search campaigns on Google Ads and radio campaigns on traditional and digital platforms (such as Spotify and Pandora), all targeting major markets in the Midwest and East Coast. Paid campaigns promoted product availability in new markets and retailers, building essential brand awareness and establishing trust in areas where Hudsonville Ice Cream could be found.
We know how to drive influencer programs that move the needle and guide buying decisions. Identity secured and managed more than 325 influencer and tastemaker partnership moments to expand brand awareness in key markets, create high-quality content for use across brand social channels and support brand initiatives and campaigns. From ice cream aficionados and gluten-free chefs to dads on the go and kid creators, we researched, identified and partnered with influencers across a variety of content segments. For special brand moments, we also utilized influencers as brand advocates for media opportunities, securing TV segments within defined markers and using skilled content creators as on-camera talent.
brand activation & event planning
Brand moments that leave a mark. Identity planned and executed more than 60 Hudsonville Ice Cream brand activations and high-impact exposure events throughout Michigan and Chicago—a combination of large-scale city birthday celebrations, parks partnerships, Michigan Artisan Collection samplings, in-store retailer events, seasonal sampling moments and much more.
finding the new flavor of detroit
Identity expanded Hudsonville Ice Cream’s presence in Metro Detroit through a long-term campaign resulting in a Limited Edition flavor for the “comeback city”—Comeback Cooler. The goals were three-fold: launch an integrated communications plan supported through media outreach, social advertising and influencer relations to build brand awareness and inspire product trial and purchase; expand the brand’s digital presence, increasing the volume of online conversations and growing the Facebook community size; and strengthen the brand name with Detroit media, content creators and influencers/bloggers.
Identity developed and implemented a measurable, strategic coupon program to creatively promote flavors, inspire product trial and better connect the dots between social efforts and sales. Following the launching of the online coupon program, more than 225,000 coupons were printed, with an average redemption rate of more than 25%. The coupon program also supported email list growth, adding 61,000+ subscribers to Hudsonville’s database.