What Your Company Can Learn from Peeps

Apr 6, 2012

Countless children in seersucker will be buzzing from a sugar high, as perennial favorite Peeps makes its way into Easter baskets everywhere on Sunday. The marshmallow confections are produced by Just Born, the Bethlehem, PA candy manufacturer that is also responsible for two other candy-coated favorites--Mike and Ike and Hot Tamales.  

The family-owned company has been in business for more than eight decades and employs over 500 people. In that time, Just Born has learned a thing or two about its products, its customers, and growing a business based on fluff.

Which raises the question: What can your company learn from Peeps?

Improve an Existing Product: When Just Born acquired the Rodda Candy Company and its marshmallow Peep product in 1953, each chick was made by hand and took 27 hours to complete, as reported by BusinessNewsDaily. Just Born mechanized the process that today churns out 4 million Peeps a day.

Diversify Your Offerings: Peeps started off with the familiar yellow chick, but now produces myriad shapes and colors for a variety of holidays. While Peeps are synonymous with Easter, pumpkin and Christmas tree Peeps have come into the market and been welcomed by customers. The new offerings have also inspired customers on social media. Peeps are popular on Pinterest for everything from cakes to flower arrangements to wreaths.

Embrace Customer Enthusiasm: Peeps’ fans don’t simply eat the candies, they create with them. There are more than 20 contests listed on the Peeps website, many sponsored by news outlets, that challenge fans to create dioramas and art projects. A glance at the contests shows the range of creativity: Peep sushi, OccuPeep DC, and depicting the “Peeping” from The Hunger Games are just the beginning—and the company appreciates and embraces the enthusiasm. Aubrecia Cooper, of Peeps & Co. retail division told BusinessNewsDaily, “We recognized the excitement these types of activities instilled among fans and we decided to support these contests with free prize packages."

Find a Celebrity Fan Base: Okay, this is unrealistic for most companies, but if you know George Clooney’s agent’s cousin’s friend, it’s something to think about. Peeps counts Justin Bieber, Joe Jonas, and Dylan Lauren as fans. Of course, the candy is a celebrity in its own right, with appearances on the network morning shows, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” and “Jeopardy,” just to name a few.

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