Social Brands 100 Q&A: Muddy Boots

Muddy Boots Real Foods is a beef burger brand owned by self-confessed ‘countrypreneurs’ Miranda and Roland Ballard.  Stocked by a growing number of UK supermarkets and sold online, the owners put a very personal stamp on their brand. Miranda talked to us about the Muddy Boots approach to social and the fine line that can be tread between the individual and brand voice.

Ranking: 53

Panel Score: 79
Data Score: 113
Social Brand Score: 192

1. What do you think makes yours a social brand?

Roland might say it’s because I talk too much…and I’d agree! I don’t think it’s just me that’s chatty, I hope it’s our brand. We’re open and honest and love to have conversations with anyone that wants to talk to us.

We’re selling beef so it’s one of the most important lines in the food industry to be able to guarantee top quality, ethical farming, and fair business. If our shoppers know that we’re social, they’ll feel happy to talk to us and these conversations are either wonderful compliments or ways to help us improve our company.

2. Can you tell us a little about how social fits into your communications mix?

I would say it’s half of our communications and networking. Facebook, Twitter and our Youtube Channel are the best lines for us so far. As well as daily updates and direct conversations with other users, we also post our press releases and ‘Moosletters’ to them as well.

I said in a talk recently that I thought social networks were like a giant global pinboard on which you pin your business card. It’s as vital for our communications that people can find us as much as we can introduce ourselves to great PR and food industry contacts.

3. What are you most proud of achieving in social media over the last year?

I posted an invitation on Facebook and Twitter for anyone to give us a quote about our burgers and we’ve now chosen four to be printed on testimonial stickers that have just gone onto the front of our Waitrose and Budgens packaging. We thought that having customer testimonials was a bit classier than celebrity testimonials and we really hope that the shoppers will like the idea too. Social networking made this idea happen so easily – it was literally an idea that we had sitting at home one weekend and I just posted it and people replied!

4. What’s changed for you over the last year in social media?

We’ve definitely noticed more people contacting us for the first time than we’ve ever had before. In fact, about an 80% increase in first contacts and (wonderfully) all 80% saying that they’d bought our burgers and they liked them – phew! It’s a great way for us to try and work out how and where our brand is going. We’ll often ask them from which store they bought our burgers and then it’s lovely to be able to picture customers all over the country.

5. What do you see changing over the next 12 months?

I’ve no idea what will happen to social networking. I think Twitter will move more towards business communications and Facebook towards personal but I’m afraid I’m absolutely no help with predicting this as I seem to change my mind daily too. I do believe that augmented reality is the future of technical communications and the first brand or provider to really nail this association with social networking is going to fly.

6. Any last thoughts?

I think it’s important for brands to be social as their brand, and not blur the line between themselves/their opinions and their brands. I’m sorry to be horribly sexist here but I’ve found that it’s often the girls that cross over these lines and I’m starting to understand how important it is for the brand’s followers not to be confused by this. Just one of my ponderings and something I try really hard to keep in mind. It’s a wonderful drug for the ego but only by invitation from oneself, not usually from the demand of others.

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