How Social Media Sentiment Analysis Inspired a New 7-Eleven Slurpee Flavor

Kimberly Surico |
 01/29/16 |
3 min read


Historically the roles of brands and consumers have been clearly defined, and separate: brands create and sell products, and consumers buy them. But what if a brand responded to the whims of users on social to create a new product? Would it work?

It did for 7-Eleven.

Taking the hint

Sound crazy? Maybe. But it just might be the new world order – and there’s no downside when your audience is built right in. In the past, brands would create new products, and marketers would sell them, telling consumers all that made them must-have items. There might be a focus group assembled to get feedback, but such a small sampling couldn’t really convey how the public at large would feel about something.

Social media has changed all that. Now consumers are in the drivers’ seat, telling brands all day long what they like, dislike, want, need, crave, etc. Beyond that, they share personal information about everything that matters to them, giving brands and marketers a view previously hidden to them.

It was this personal information that 7-Eleven put to use as it was brainstorming its new Slurpee flavor. Using our newest audience marketing tool, Audience 3D™, 7-Eleven did some social media listening to see what Slurpee lovers were talking about.

Turns out many of them enjoy pairing their Slurpees with SOUR PATCH candies – watermelon flavor to be exact. 7-Eleven took the hint and created the SOUR PATCH Watermelon Slurpee.

But they didn’t want to stop at the audience they knew about – they wanted to see if there were others to whom this new Slurpee flavor would appeal.

Leaving no social stone unturned

How did they do this? By taking what they knew about Slurpee and SOUR PATCH lovers and searching for those with common interests. They looked at social users who enjoy other brands of sour candy and convenience stores – and then looked for deeper connections to create smaller segments they could target with individualized messaging.

Any brand can do this. They just have to look beyond mentions of their own brand or products – to what consumers are saying about their competitors, as well as their own lives.

This is what it takes for brands to engage consumers now – using consumer behavior analysis to identify consumer passions, wants, needs, pet peeves, pet causes, and more. This information transcends demographic lines, and opens brands up to new audiences they couldn’t know about any other way.

But that’s not all A3D can do. Another crucial component to understanding social audiences is having insights into the special languages that are used online. Not just national languages – though we speak 42 of those – but the slanguage and emojis that provide context to character-limited social messaging. Brands can’t see a complete picture without a tool that can decipher ALL that might affect their social listening. It’s another important dimension to their audience marketing.

The value of making it personal

And how did this audience marketing approach work for 7-Eleven? Here are the results:

  • Extended their reach by 3 million users
  • Double engagement of prior campaigns
  • Saw significant increase in engagement due to micro-targeting

All of which exceeded their expectations for the campaign. By simply listening – and responding – to social users’ desires, they successfully launched a new product, and gained new followers in the process.

But you don’t have to be jealous – because you can do the same thing for your brand.

Let us know when you’re ready, and we’ll show you what Audience 3D is all about!

Image from Sam valadi

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