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Andy’s Answers: How Wendy’s uses social listening to make better business decisions

2 min read

Brands & Campaigns

According to Brandon Rhoten, social listening has helped Wendy’s accomplish things it never would have done 15 years ago. He says the company has made the kind of decisions that would have given its public relations people a heart attack if the company didn’t have the data — and now, success stories — to back it up.

In his presentation at‘s BlogWell conference in New York, Rhoten explains how the brand used social media listening strategies to figure out what people wanted from Wendy’s. He also shares how the brand made real use of the results by making big decisions that paid off.

Here are three examples from his presentation on how social listening made made a big difference for Wendy’s.

  • Developing a great app: Using social listening, Rhoten’s team found that when people decide to go to lunch, they’re having thoughts such as, “How can I go here and not break my diet?” So to help them out, the team developed an interactive application with nutritional information — a decision that made some PR people skeptical. However, because the brand listened to customers, the app earned tons of users, even without advertising it.
  • Making value items cool: Wendy’s understood that people rarely talk about the $1 hamburger they had for lunch. To encourage tweeting about value-menu items, the brand asked social media fans to give these items different names — a move that marketing people always resist. After that, the brand saw a lot more customers buying off of the value menu.
  • The “pink slime” issue: When news outlets were outing every business involved in the beef byproduct known as “pink slime,” the industry wanted restaurants to be quiet on the issue. However, Wendy’s was more interested in what customers wanted (and were loudly asking via social media): to know whether Wendy’s served pink slime. Through social media, Rhoten’s team was able to proudly say Wendy’s had never used pink slime, earning additional fans and enhanced word-of-mouth.

If you like this presentation, see more great social media case studies like it live at’s BlogWell conference June 19 in Chicago.