From Chick to Icon: Branding Lessons from my favorite Peeps
"Peeps are like friends - they come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and they always make life a little sweeter." - Unknown
Spring marks the opening of the Professional Baseball season, Ramadan, Easter, and Passover. Personally, it’s the time of year I look forward to as I get to enjoy those brightly colored marshmallow candies, Peeps. I don’t know about you, but I eat my Peeps headfirst to keep them from staring at me.
These sweet confections may be associated with the Easter tradition but in my family, Peeps were the reward we would get as kids for staying up late during the Passover Seder and finding the Afikomen (a hidden treasure is a highly sought-after piece of matzo hidden for children to find after dinner to keep them awake through the hours-long holiday feast).
Now, as a business consultant constantly looking for ways to help clients succeed in business, what better inspiration than Peeps, the timeless Easter candies that have crossed over religious holidays – Easter and Passover (plus other holidays too), and reinvented itself to constantly stay fresh and relevant.
The story of Just Born, the manufacturer of Peeps, founded by Ukrainian immigrants provides valuable lessons for entrepreneurs. Here are a few of them:
Perseverance. Sam Born, Just Born's founder, faced many challenges as an immigrant starting a business in a new country, but he persevered and built a successful enterprise.
Innovation. Bob Born, son of founder Sam, figured out how to mechanize the marshmallow creation process, which shortened the manufacturing time from nearly 57 hours to 6 minutes. He also ditched the wings that used to be piped into each Peep, which further streamlined the process).
Branding. The Peeps brand has been successful in creating a distinct and memorable identity for the candy, contributing to its enduring popularity and status as an American icon.
Embrace your uniqueness. Peeps are a unique and distinctive candy, with their iconic shape and vibrant colors.
Evolve with the times. Peeps have undergone many changes over the years, from new flavors and colors to collaborations with other brands. Plus, who can forget the Peeps cosmetic line & the Katy Perry line of shoes for kids of all ages…Just love the Peeps color yellow, blue & pink clog!
Engage with your customers. On social media, Peeps has a strong presence and engages with its fans through various platforms. They also encourage fans to share their Peeps-themed creations and participate in contests and giveaways.
Be part of your community. By “Hanging with Your Peeps” you can show you are a team player.
Leverage partnerships. Peeps have partnered with other brands and franchises, such as Coca-Cola, Minions, and Star Wars, to expand their reach and appeal to new audiences.
Community involvement. Peeps have been involved in the Bethlehem community for many years, supporting local initiatives and organizations. They have partnered with several philanthropic organizations, such as Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises money for pediatric cancer research. In these partnerships, Peeps has created special editions of its candies with a portion of the proceeds going to the designated charity.
Easter and Passover traditions may have evolved over time, but the lessons remain the same. Just as the children at the Passover Seder seek out the hidden Afikomen to get rewarded (in my case, Peeps), business owners must also keep seeking out hidden opportunities for growth and success in their industry.
Wishing you a happy Easter, Passover, and Ramadan!