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How to create content for consumers with competing views

How to create content for consumers with competing views Lori Luechtefeld

Know your audience. Well, of course. Any marketer who doesn't understand the importance of the demographics behind who purchases their products probably shouldn't be in marketing at all.

But what do you do when your product is beloved by two vastly different audiences?

Such is the reality at Solo Cup, where beer-chugging college kids and parent-aged women alike represent enthusiastic yet vastly different customer bases. At the iMedia Brand Summit in Coronado, California, Kasey Skala, head of digital and social at Solo Cup, discussed how data can inform creativity and help you zone in on the right "who, what, where, and when."

When thinking about how to connect with its two unique audiences, Skala employs the useful acronym RED (made all the more relevant given that it's the company's iconic cup color):

  • Relevancy

  • Effectiveness

  • Distribution

"If you ask me, the notion that 'content is king' is complete bullsh*t," Skala said. "If content is king, then distribution is the almighty f**king overlord."

After all, if no one sees your content, then it's been a complete waste of time. With that in mind, the challenge for Solo Cup was not only figuring out what kind of content would resonate with its two audiences, but also where those two audiences were most likely to consume it. To uncover these insights, Solo Cup turned to the data. And that data destroyed a lot of Skala's own assumptions. For example:

  • Clear cups -- not red -- are the ones people search for most.

  • The My Solo Cup product with customizable labels is highly engaged with, despite its limited distribution.

  • On social media, only one in the top six performing pieces of content involve a red Solo cup -- and none involves food or drink.

The data also told Solo Cup how and where to speak to its different audiences. Its young, wild, and free college-aged demographic calls for short-form, mobile content built around experiences and convenience. Such content finds its mark most readily via outlets like Facebook, Spotify, and Tremor Video, Skala said. 

Contrast that to the age 25-44 largely female demographic, who is more likely to connect with recipes and long-form entertainment content on web and desktop experiences. For that group, outlets like the Solo site itself and Food Network make the most sense, as well as content discovery via the Outbrain platform.

Watching the data and listening to the social sphere also enabled Solo Cup to uncover and participate in a recent unique case study that Skala calls the "Jazz phenomenon" -- the somewhat baffling internet obsession revolving around the company's dated but iconic Jazz paper product pattern.


For the past 18 months, there was consistent online conversation around this two-decade-old design, and at last, a search was launched on Reddit for the original designer of the retro pattern. Solo Cup itself couldn't trace the pattern to its origin, but the internet could. The result? A wave of free press and buzz that, even though Solo didn't create it, the brand can harness.

"As brands, we must use data to drive the decision-making process and tell us what our consumers are interested in," Skala concluded.

Lori Luechtefeld is publisher at iMedia Communications.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

Lori Luechtefeld is principal of strategic content firm Wookit Media and an associate at WIT Strategy. In both roles, she works with a network of media and marketing professionals to devise and fulfill on content strategies that connect...

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