Excitement is likely not your first thought when seeing a can of beans. Kat Kavner wants to change that. Her brand is redefining a pantry staple to bring some magic to the canned foods aisle. She’s accomplishing this by meeting customers where they are—in unexpected ways.
Canned beans was a sleepy product category before Heyday Canning came along. Kat and co-founder Jaime Lynne Tulley shook things up when they started selling flavor-packed beans with viral marketing.
One of those viral moments was the brand’s one-for-one Bean Swap event. The team asked customers to bring in cans of beans in exchange for a Heyday can, with swapped cans donated to City Harvest.
Ahead, learn from Heyday’s successful event and hear Kat’s advice for planning a viral marketing campaign for your own brand.
4 steps to building a viral marketing campaign
1. Validate the opportunity in the market
The founders’ research included comparing different data sets. “We put together a spreadsheet of every single canned food product and mapped out what they were doing,” Kat says. What they saw when comparing the brands was that not a single one was pushing the limits to stand out in their marketing campaigns.
2. Set clear objectives
Committed to getting noticed and staying on message, Kat and her team set goals before the four-day event. They wanted it to cut through the noise on TikTok and draw in as many views and engaged users as possible.
By setting these goals, they could quickly brainstorm fun and out-of-the-box ways to increase allure in relation to the pop-up. This included selling a portrait of popular TV character Mr. Bean and a bean stuffie wearing a gold chain.
3. Take risks
Risks go a long way when it comes to going viral online. People will appreciate the risk it takes to try something new and unexpected. Heyday didn’t have a lot of money to spend, so the team took a big leap of faith and spent almost the entire quarter’s marketing budget on the pop-up.
“We wanted to … focus all the money on one thing that had the potential to cut through the noise and grow brand awareness,” Kat says.
With so much social media content shared online, it was worth it to Heyday to invest the time, effort, and budget to stand out. The brand’s TikTok videos related to the event garnered more than 230,000 views.
4. Lean into what makes you different
No other canned food company was hosting live, interactive events, so Heyday Canning leaned into the spectacle online. The team created videos responding to comments, and reshared users’ reactions so more people could learn about the brand.
Uploading videos in real time drew more foot traffic to the event. Products sold out by day two, and the founders had to rush order more overnight.
While it may be scary to invest in an out-there idea, the payoff can be huge. If you can conduct thorough research, stick to clear goals, and highlight the areas that make you different, your marketing campaign has the potential to reach virality, too.
To discover how Kat capitalized on this virality to grow her brand even more, and to hear her advice when it comes to creating eye-catching packaging, tune in to the full Shopify Masters episode.