Can Hostess Brands Be Saved?

At the announcement of Hostess Brand’s epic shutdown last week, there was an outpouring of sorrow at the loss of Twinkies, grief over Ho Ho’s that are no longer. Who knew the world loved these products so much?


Why was Twinkie Trending?

Although Twinkie was trending all week on Twitter, the reoccuring tweet I saw was, “I’ve never actually had a Twinkie. Guess I never will.”

A few years ago, I bought a box of Ho Ho’s. I hadn’t had them since I was a kid, but the memory of peeling back the chocolate covering and eating it before the rest of chocolate and cream pinwheel was in my noggin. I wanted to do that again, to subconsciously feel like a kid again. Unfortunately, the Ho Ho just didn’t taste as good as I remembered. The chocolate had a plasticy aftertaste and the creamy consistency didn’t come close to that of my co-worker’s ho ho bars recipe.

Why then is America mourning the loss of the Hostess brands when we have plenty of products that have a far superior taste? Because, it’s not the products that everyone loves. It’s the brand.

The brand helps us recall memories. The brand reminds us of a time when we didn’t count calories and ate cream-filled foods with abandon. Sometimes brands become part of who we are because they were part of who we were in our younger years. Brands are a thread in the fabric of our lives (as Cotton would say).

When “out of nowhere” (for those of us not watching the financial news) one of our iconic childhood brands is eliminated, we feel pain.

What we can learn from Ho Ho’s

Even if Hostess didn’t have its act together financially, their brand was strong. It was connected to kids – or maybe I should say, the kid in us. Will the Hostess brands die? Doubtful. Their recipes may not be the their saving grace, their company culture isn’t worth saving at this point, but their brand will redeem them.

What’s the lesson to be learned? A brand is SO much more than a recipe. It’s about how people feel when they connect with your product or service.

What are you doing to create that feeling? How are you creating memories in your customers’ minds?

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