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How Kit Kat Kickly Became One Of The World's Favorite Snacks

Andrea Lee
Andrea Lee
February 29, 2016
2 min read
How Kit Kat Kickly Became One Of The World's Favorite Snacks

You probably remember removing that iconic red paper packaging as a kid, then unwrapping the silver foil beneath to unveil that mouthwatering chocolate-coated wafer. (Maybe you still do it now)

Kit Kat is a global brand name that is stranger to none. Nestle reports that 650 bars of Kit Kat are consumed every second globally.

Of British origin, Kit Kat was introduced in Brazil in 2012 and continues to generate strong consumer demand.

In 2014, Kit Kat was listed as one of Time’s “13 Most Influential Candy Bars of All Time”. Kit Kat is also the number one best-selling chocolate in Japan, and the only non-American brand in America’s list of top 5 chocolate favourites. Kit Kat is the world's first chocolate bar made from 100% sustainable cocoa. Kit Kat has a case to be the healthiest candy bar in the market (because it's mostly wafer and air).

How did Kit Kat achieve such global success? Let's find out.

1. Effective and consistent tagline -- “Have a Break, Have a Kit Kat”

have a break have a kitkat - kit kat marketing slogan

We’ve all heard it before. First launched in 1958, the classic tagline has been one of the most successful brand slogans in history. Close to 60 years later, its effect is still profound.

Kit Kat’s tagline is a simple and memorable one that effectively communicates the brand’s vision. With such a catchy tagline, Kit Kat has branded itself as the go-to social snack for people of all ages.

Kit Kat prominently features its tagline on the packaging of each individually wrapped chocolate, and in all its online and print advertisements too.

Such aggressive branding drives across a consistent message that becomes ingrained in the consumer’s mind.

Word-of-mouth tip: A simple and meaningful tagline is important in differentiating a brand in a meaningful way. Especially in an industry saturated with substitute products, a memorable tagline can shift consumer preference in favour of such a product.

2. Product innovation with special flavors available in different markets get people interested in trying and collecting them all

kitkat flavours - kit kat flavours in japan include watermelon, apple vinegar, espresso and muscat of alexandria

The latest craze in Kit Kat fandom has been the unique flavors of Kit Kat available in different markets. There are more than 200 different flavours and editions of Kit Kat, with most of these being produced in Japan.

Such innovation revitalises the brand’s offerings and keeps customers constantly coming back for more.

The hype for these exclusive Kit Kats has also spread through the Youtube sphere, where the trend of taste-testing snacks from around the globe has seen more variations of Kit Kats being consumed on camera than any other snack.

Popular Youtube artiste EmmymadeinJapan has posted many videos of herself trying out new Kit Kat flavours that have been sent to her from her fans from all around the world.

Buzzfeed has also posted a two-part video series on Youtube titled “Americans Try Exotic Japanese Kit Kats”, which altogether has received more than 9 million views, and hundreds of comments from people all over the world expressing their eagerness to try out such unique offerings.

Word-of-mouth tip: Successful product innovation that creates a product worth talking about generates its own hype and publicity. Social media platforms such as Youtube then help to spread this newfound product awesomeness throughout the world.

3. ‘Moment marketing’ - Interacting digitally with consumers keeps people engaged on their own newsfeeds

The fight for @Laura_ellenxx's affections is on. @oreo your move #haveabreak

— KITKAT (@KITKAT) March 13, 2013

kit kat ore tic tac toe - kitkat moment marketing keeps kit kat top of mind

Millions of people all over the globe subscribe to the Youtube channels of their favorite brands and online personalities, and follow them on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the latest news.

Kit Kat recognises the power of digital networks and social media platforms in influencing consumer choice and strategically uses social media to win over fan’s affections.

Nestle’s Global Head of Kit Kat Kristen Dryburgh refers to this strategy as ‘moment marketing’, where the brand interacts with other brands and consumers online, often engaging in some sort of friendly banter.

In early 2013, an avid chocolate fan Laura Ellen tweeted her love for both Kit Kat and Oreo. Kit Kat responded with a good-natured challenge of Tic Tac Toe with Oreo.

The playful banter between the two brands garnered a large amount of social media traction, received hundreds of retweets, and was successful at bringing out the playful Kit Kat personality.

Word-of-mouth tip: Humans are social creatures who love to feel heard and appreciated. Interacting in a friendly and lighthearted manner with avid fans online is an organic way of garnering widespread social media attention, and WOM.

4. Creative digital engagement with other brands allows the Kit Kat name to spread wider than it would otherwise

kit kat android - kitkat statue at android HQ engineers love kitkat

After its online success with Oreo, Kit Kat didn’t stop there.

In late 2013, just as Kit Kat was searching for the next brand to partner with, Google approached Kit Kat with a proposal to name version 4.4 of their Android operating system the Android Kit Kat.

Google’s reason for the approach was easy: Google engineers simply loved Kit Kat.

As Director of Android Marketing Marc Vanlerberghe put it, “We couldn’t imagine a better name for our Android K release than the tasty chocolate that’s been a favourite among the team since the early days of Android,” a clear nod to the consistent chocolatey goodness that Kit Kat has been producing for decades.

The Nestlé team came together to discuss the business proposal for all of 30 minutes before the agreement to collaborate was made. No monetary transactions were involved, showing the global community the genuine love and camaraderie between both brands.

To celebrate the launch of Android Kit Kat, more than 50 million specially branded Kit Kat bars were released in 19 countries, a nod again to Kit Kat’s successful product innovation, this time coupled with creative campaigning.

Today, Kit Kat continues to build a strong digital presence to engage with millions of fans worldwide.

Word-of-mouth tip: Digital brand collaborations are strategic ways to engage new audiences. Creative campaigns done well can generate tons of WOM organically.

Recap: How did Kit Kat achieve such popularity?

  1. Consistent branding with a strong tagline
  2. Innovative flavors keep people talking about the product
  3. 'Moment Marketing' helps them connect with fans and acknowledge them
  4. Collaborations with other brands helps to bring in excitement about Kit Kats
Andrea Lee
Andrea Lee

Andrea is an undergraduate majoring in international relations and East Asian politics. She enjoys a good run in the city.

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