What’s you favorite ice cream flavor? We probably have all heard the latter question during an ice breaker or another get-to-know-you activity. Whether your favorite flavor is simply vanilla or some absurd flavor with 3- different types of chocolate and miscellaneous ingredients, ice cream has become a staple food item in the lives of many.
Even if you hate ice cream, it’s hard to deny that the frozen treat is one of the most frequently consumed guilty pleasures in this country. In fact, ice cream is SO good that I (and many others) would love to sit down and devour an entire pint. Sounds good and all….except a pint of ice cream can be around 1000+ calories! It might be acceptable to eat an entire pint of ice cream maybe once in awhile (hello finals week), but it’s hard to justify on a daily basis, especially if you want to be at least somewhat health-conscious.
But…don’t you still wish you could?
If so, an ice cream company called Halo Top has the perfect value proposition for you! Halo Top, a premium “healthy” ice cream brand, offers pints of ice cream in a variety of flavors that range from 240-360 calories per pint. To put things into perspective, a serving of Ben & Jerry’s is around 250 calories. That means you can eat an entire pint of Halo Top and could have eaten less calories that you would have if you had one small serving of Ben & Jerry’s.
Sounds too good to be true, right?
Lucky for all of us, it’s true. Created in 2012 by a former lawyer, Justin Woolverton, Halo Top began its roots in Los Angeles. Woolverton started the company on a quest to find an all-natural, low-calorie ice cream that was low in sugar. Fast forward 5 years, Halo Top has uniquely positioned itself within the ice cream industry in a way that has allowed them to become the #1 selling ice cream pint in grocery stores, beating long-standing industry leaders Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen Dazs. In 2016, Halo Top sold 13.5 million pints and generated sales of around $66 million.
Marketing themselves as an all-natural, healthy ice cream brand, Halo Top appeals to those consumers who want to indulge in dessert without feeling guilty. This “guilt-free” value proposition has carried Halo Top a long way- its sales have increased over 2500% in the last year alone. While Halo Top clearly has a value-add that allows it to differentiate itself from other ice cream brands, their social media strategy has been the main driver behind their immense success. Social media has allowed Halo Top to beat popular ice cream giants with minimal advertising expenses.
Halo Top’s Social Media Strategy
Unlike many other traditional ice cream companies, Halo Top primarily focused its marketing efforts online when it first started off. Up until this past year, the company has been able to achieve success without traditional media spending. Lenny Chase, Halo Top’s VP of Marketing told Business Insider: “We started off really focused on digital and social, with more than 90% of our efforts on Facebook and Instagram.” As a “100% digitally native brand,” Halo Top has achieved an impressive presence on social media, with close to 600,000 followers on Instagram. Its Instagram account features countless colorful and fun images of their pints of ice cream.
Halo Top has relied on their in-house marketing team to advertise their low-calorie ice cream products through social media outreach. With a focus on authentic brand voice, Halo Top’s team creates new digital content and responds to hundreds of social media posts about its products every day, according to Bloomberg. It also encourages its consumers to use #HaloTop in social media posts, and many consumers post aesthetically pleasing pictures of their pints of Halo Top ice cream. Upon exploring their Facebook page, an automatic message will pop up and give you the opportunity to communicate with a member of the Halo Top team. The message says “typically replies within a few hours,” which is an example of their quick and efficient use of social media to communicate their brand.
In addition to creating a brand voice, Halo Top has used social media platforms and their close relationship with consumers to take advantage of word-of-mouth marketing. It’s almost like a cult– once you positively experience Halo Top, you will be hooked and you will try to get everyone around you to try it.
As Halo Top has grown over the years, it has continued to add new flavors. The company has turned to social media to ask its fans to suggest and to vote for new flavors. As a result, Halo Top has ended up with 17 different unique flavors that fit the taste of a wide spectrum of consumers. Some of their most interesting flavors are below:
Interesting Halo Top Flavors:
- Oatmeal Cookie
- Mochi Green Tea
- Birthday Cake
- Lemon Cake
- Rainbow Swirl
Due to its quick growth over the past few years, Halo Top has only recently been running online campaigns with the help of outside agencies. In September, Halo Top released a video that will air on its online and social channels, as well as in movie theaters before films. While the concept of the video is a bit strange (an old lady being force-fed ice cream by a robot), the commercial is anything but traditional, which goes along with the authenticity and uniqueness of Halo Tops’ brand. I’ll leave it up to you guys to decide whether you like the commercial or not, but for founder Woolverton, the commercial is perfect. Contrary to traditional commercials that can be a bit stale, Halo Tops’ video is “off the wall” and almost like “an anti-ad.” Woolverton adds: “I think people are just more interested these days in just something that’s just plain interesting, not something that’s too heavily branded.”
Halo Top’s social media strategy and online presence has been the golden ticket to being able to join the ranks of Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen Dazs in the ice cream category. Their use of digital platforms can be an useful example for other food manufacturers that are looking to increase market share. Halo Top should also be an example to leading brands. The company’s success shows the sheer power of social media efforts, and all companies can benefit from achieving a good social media strategy. If done correctly, companies can reach new potential customers quickly, develop an authentic brand voice, and save thousands (if not millions) of dollars every year.
Now off to eat an entire pint of Halo Top (and I hope you do too)!