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DALLAS – How do you bring an international brand to the U.S., open more than 170 franchised stores in a credit crisis, win loyal customers for repeat business across North America, and earn the #1 Zagat rating in today's economy? "Be likeable," answers Dan Kim, founder and chief concept officer of Red Mango Inc.
Kim will be a featured speaker at the first annual Likeable U Awards: Creating a More Likeable World, during Internet Week (IWNY) on May 15 at the Desmond Tutu Center in New York City.
"Social Media Beyond the Buzz," the theme of the meeting, is a hot topic for Kim who credits Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and more for facilitating a dialogue between Red Mango and consumers that has resulted in an international franchising success story. With more than 500,000 Red Mango followers on social media channels, Kim will discuss the importance of pictures in building social media relationships with the Likeable U crowd.
The brand stresses the health of its sugared and stevia-sweetened deserts, which it says are all-natural, gluten-free and have live probiotic cultures that help the immune and digestive system. These deserts have helped Red Mango grow to 170 franchised frozen yogurt shops throughout the United States.
"Social media is our direct lifeline to our consumers," Kim says, who opened the first Red Mango store in the U.S. in 2007 and continues to expand the brand across the Americas. "I want Red Mango customers to feel that they can directly contact me and have a say in our products. Images are also an important aspect of social media. Giving fans a visual allows for great feedback."
Mr. Kim, arguably Red Mango's chief brand evangelists, has tried to foster a grassroots connection with consumers through an emphasis on social media and brick-and-mortar locations rather than the old idea that big brands need to use big advertising dollars to establish themselves.
The founder of the frozen yogurt chain thinks it is important to be likable to not only consumers but also to the food chain's franchise owners. "Just like me, my corporate team and our loyal customers, our franchisees are passionate Red Mango brand ambassadors," explains Kim to Blue MauMau. "Our franchisees represent our brand in every way possible, so being in sync with them — and communicating with them at all levels — is something I greatly value."
The brand's chief concept officer explains the fundamentals that contribute to likability by franchisees of any sector, whether it is car care centers or burger joints. He says business owners under a brand give respect and appreciation to franchisors that have a clear and passionate vision for what a brand is and should strive to be. The founder of the franchising company also thinks it is important to develop many channels of communication with franchisees and for them to be able to communicate with him.
"I make sure that everyone involved with Red Mango — including franchisee and even our customers — have opportunities to understand, appreciate and discuss them with me," he declares. Social media makes the demands of communicating easier for Dan Kim. "This is why the social networks in which I am active have become so critical to our brand. Media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram create many transparent opportunities for me to connect with all of our brand ambassadors in a dynamic, enriching way," declares Red Mango's chief concept officer.