A Social Media Banana Split
NPR recently aired this story examining how Ohio and North Carolina residents are using Twitter to vie for the favor of the Chiquita fruit company, which is considering moving its Cincinnati headquarters to Charlotte.
The report describes how Ohio marketing executive Kevin Dugan turned to Twitter to persuade Chiquita’s CEO, Fernando Aguirre, to keep the company in Cincinnati. Together with his friend J.B. Kropp, the two devised the hashtag #NoCincyBananaSplit to drum up support. In response, Charlotte resident Brian Francis created #BananasForCLT, igniting a virtual tug-o-war between Ohio and North Carolina Twitter users for Chiquita’s attention.
This campaign’s success can largely be attributed to knowing your audience; Dugan engaged Aguirre through a medium he used frequently and employed a simple, recognizable phrase (#NoCincyBananaSplit) to rally the surrounding community.
The story also reflects a growing trend of executives communicating directly with their constituents through social media. Other leaders would do well to emulate this; Facebook and Twitter not only allow you to directly interact with your audience, but also provide your organization immediate access to valuable feedback.