Social Media

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Last week, I wrote this post about the unfortunate experience I had at a Hyundai dealer’s service center.

At the end of that post, I mentioned that I had received a tweet from Hyundai in response to my sharing the previous post with them.

Since this Tweet, I’ve had a few emails and a phone call with Ally from Hyundai’s social media team. (I am assuming it’s a team.)

Ally has been exceptional in communication with me. Our phone call with friendly and pleasant, and he allowed me to air my grievances and seemed in complete agreement that my experience wasn’t as it should have been. He was also grateful for my extremely detailed blog post in which I logged all of those phone calls, Lyft rides, and the rental car.

Since I deal with Noritake customer service on a regular basis, I understand the experience of responding to an unhappy customer, and when I’m the customer, I try to be as honest and fair as possible when relaying my experience. I was really irritated with the whole scenario, but read and re-read my post to make sure that everything I wrote was factual. There are certainly opinion statements in there, but nothing about the actual interactions is exaggerated.

Simply having a conversation with someone from Hyundai who seemed genuine in his negative assessment of my experience was a huge step in restoring my opinion of the company as a whole. However, in following up, Hyundai were accommodating and helpful. I couldn’t be happier with the response from them.

I still suffer the issue of wanting to never go back to (specifically) Paramus Hyundai again, but that’s for another day.

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I’ve been using for a number of years now, but with a basic membership that only gives me access to records from the United States.

I was excited to receive an email about free access to Irish records for St. Patrick’s Day, as I found out through my Ancestry DNA test that I am actually 39% Irish! Unfortunately, there was such a big miss with the rollout of this free access, and I was incredibly disappointed with it. The social promotion potential was completely blown.

From the email:

This is great, because the free access is helpful to those of us looking for Irish records, and also is a good way to offer a preview of the more expensive global membership. I click the “kiss me I’m 7% Irish” image because I am hoping I can get one of my own to share socially.

On the actual website, I’m shown another image, and encouraged to explore AncestryDNA. There is no social option here!

I would love nothing more than to upload a photo of myself and have an image created automatically that would show how Irish I am, and obviously, would be a great promotional tool for

Additionally, a one-time creation of a social image generator could be customized to feature any one of the major groups that your DNA result assigns you to. This could be used at any time, for anyone’s personal reasons, and then promoted around appropriate dates, like this promotion for St. Patrick’s Day.

From my own experience, I find that once people get into checking out their family histories, they become quickly obsessed. Even creating this little tool as a gateway for people to find their way to would be a strong additional to their marketing and promotional plan.

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Carolina Cider Company | In My Travels

by Jamie Sanford on March 7, 2016

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All images taken with the Sony NEX-6.

On our way to Jacksonville from Charleston, we took as many local roads as possible, trying to avoid I-95. I am so glad we did, because we stopped immediately when we saw the Carolina Cider Company.

The sign outside still says Cherry Company, but all of the updated branding replaces Cherry with Cider.

Apologies for the slight blur!


I love the gas station feel outside.

The inside, however, way way better! We didn’t know where to look first. So many products to look at!

I cannot recommend the strawberry cider enough. Be warned, it’s very sweet, it tastes like jam! It is so delicious though.

Frog jam is a blend of fig, raspberry, orange, and ginger!

I’m not sure how much I’ve talked about my love for local honey, but I find it hard to resist at all times. Seriously everyone, read the label before you buy honey at the grocery store! So much of it is from another country, which is not necessary. Find a local beekeeper!

I cannot say enough about how this small stop on the road was so unexpected and wonderful! We bought strawberry and peach cider, as well as some vidalia onion dressing, and some benne wafers. I could have/should have bought 100 more things, because everything we took home with us has been incredibly delicious.

In addition to the product quality, the entire in-store experience is worth the trip. It’s beautiful inside, and so many of the products have beautiful branding as well – which many know that for me, heightens the experience even more.

I am disappointed in the online shopping experience – which I have discovered while trying to link to the Carolina Cider Company‘s website and products. In addition, there is no easily found email address or social media links to connect with them, which is a big miss. This is the sort of business that could do amazing gift basket business, and there isn’t really any opportunities being taken for that. There is even a gift basket category on their website with nothing in it to purchase, which is a poor showing for a business that is so clearly primed to do well in that category.

I am interested in their wholesale business as well, and how that should be presented. If they are available in other locations or chain stores, it would be great to offer that information here – I know we are not the only people who don’t live in the area, who randomly came across the store and stopped in.

Product Quality: 9.5
In-store Experience: 9.5
Online Experience: 5

Hilton Hotels

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Panera #SoupReview Trailer | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on January 20, 2016

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Sometime in the last 6 months or so, I started getting my lunches from Panera. While not the cheapest option available, it is such a vast improvement in quality over fast food options that I have been happy to take the hit. Their rapid ordering system is great, I can pre-pay for my order online and it is ready to pick up when I get there.

This week, something on the homepage caught my eye.

Watch the trailer? For soup? I’m intrigued.

I am surprised and delighted to find this charming and funny page, touting the updated recipe for the popular Broccoli Cheddar soup. As anyone who makes movie posters will tell you, anything surrounded by those branches looks fancy and official, so the quotes within are even more entertaining.

The original soup trailer:

Please note that the version embedded here is the original version. Here is a look at what is underneath the embedded video on the #soupreview page.

If you watch the version of the video on this page, you can see that the Panera team has continually updated this video to include tweets that have come in about their soup with the hashtag #soupreview. It’s irritatingly long now, but there are a lot of funny and honest tweets coming in about the new “clean” version of the broccoli cheddar soup.

In addition, you can share the video easily via Twitter or Facebook. I’m guessing this is more for those wanting to share after they have been added to the video.


  • Humor! This video manages to be funny while totally selling the point, that the soup is now made with fresher, non-artificial ingredients
  • Improved soup, obviously. We all like eating less artificial ingredients.
  • Clean design – this page stays to the point and doesn’t include 100 different things. The message is clear – please watch the video and then tweet about our updated soup.


  • While I like the idea of adding the tweets to the video, the video is now incredibly long, too long. I would prefer another way to showcase the tweets than only in the video. What would be a wonderful addition would be a way to easily create a social-friendly square image that would easily be shared and spread!
  • The sharing options are weak at best. Only allowing sharing on 2 social networks is weak – where is Tumblr? Google Plus? These are both video-friendly so that isn’t an issue – if my tip above was taken into account, Instagram would be in the mix as well.

It is a great idea by the Panera team, I am just sad that there is such a major miss in making it EASY to share in more locations. To go to all of the trouble of creating the content and not to completely follow through is disappointing.


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Shari’s Berries, Part 2 | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on March 6, 2014

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Here is part 1 of my Brand Experience project looking at my Shari’s Berries experience.

After writing part 1 of this series, I sent the link via Twitter to Shari’s Berries. I have done this with every brand I’ve written about, just to give them a heads up. Here’s the tweet exchange that followed.

After this ended, I started getting direct messages from SB instead of public tweets. I was apologized to for the issue, and offered replacement berries. Obviously, I was not going to say no! (read from the bottom up)

I received new berries on Saturday, as promised. Thanks to Will for the photos.

I guess it is standard practice to have this ice pack flying around in the box.

These berries were in much better shape when we opened the box. There’s a bit of strawberry juice there, but these were sitting on my doorstep for at least 2 hours before I got home, so that’s forgivable.

You’ll note that this is another case of the berries not looking exactly as promised. Here’s the product page for these champagne strawberries. There were no green tops, and no red sticking out to see. I discussed this with a colleague and she suggested that the strawberries might have a slightly better shelf life when totally encased on chocolate. I don’t know if that is true, but it is certainly a possibility.

Bottom line—although this process isn’t perfect, the strawberries are freaking delicious. These were devoured in my house. I read a bunch of product reviews on the site, and while there are mentions of the strawberries not looking like the product photo, those are few and far between as the page is full of people who are just gushing over the deliciousness.

The Shari’s Berries team got back to me super quickly and immediately sought to reconcile my issue with more berries. I’m impressed that they seem to be fully embracing the message on the product page that reads “your complete satisfaction is guaranteed.” It was a lovely experience, and I would order from them again. My issues were not really resolved, and I would love to chat with someone from Shari’s Berries on the issue, but the team’s response certainly made sure I was a happy customer at the end of the day.


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