To kick off our new series, Marketing Mavens, in which we’ll spotlight some stellar businesses, we have the oat spread of your dreams: Oat Haus granola butter. (Not sponsored, just enjoyed.) Marketing to the modern consumer requires paying close attention to viral trends and standing out on social media, at which Oat Haus excels.
Founded by Ali Bonar in 2018, Oat Haus has already amassed quite the impressive following, with 94.1k devotees on Instagram alone. In fact, a well-targeted Instagram ad is actually how I discovered the brand back in August of 2021.
Later that same fateful year, the team had a stint on Shark Tank, and while no shark bit, more members joined the “haus party.”
The website lists the “haus party rules,” including a play on BYOB-bring your own butter-and a punny “three strikes you’re oat” if one doesn’t follow the rules. Fun branding like that is one of many reasons why Oat Haus shines in the eyes of the modern consumer.
Let’s take a deep dive into Oat Haus and its marketing techniques to uncover the roots of its success.
Consistent and appealing branding
Great branding is the foundation of a thriving business.
Consistency keeps customers loyal, and I don’t just mean the product itself being consistent. As much as customers want to feel like you know them, they want to feel as if they know you and your brand, too.
Oat Haus’ playful, conversational tone carries across all its channels, making customers feel at home, so to speak, when they jump from Instagram to the website and so on.
What does such a tone look like? If you go to build a box of granola butter-known to the fanbase as GB-you’ll find this above the list of flavors:
Q: how much GB is too much GB? Answer: the limit does not exist.
With social media being a major marketing tool, certain businesses that invest in sponsored ads on platforms like TikTok and Instagram need to think about who their main audience is and be consistent in their targeted messaging.
53.2% of Instagram users in the U.S. are between the ages of 18 and 34, so marketing to the modern consumer sometimes requires a playful tone, which Oat Haus has nailed.
That percentage consists of Gen Z and millennials, many of whom partake in whatever the latest trend is and add every new slang term to their personal dictionary. Think “glow up,” “low-key,” “it’s giving…,” “stan,” “rent free,” and “understood the assignment.”
In one of their Instagram captions, they wrote: we stan GB>PB, shading their nutty competitor while sneaking in modern jargon.
Here are some other examples of this strategic use of popular language:
- “Squad goals” (used to describe a row of three jars of granola butter)
- Big Oat Energy
- ~festival szn~ (abbreviations and ~ are in)
In keeping with its playful tone is its bold, groovy font that’s redolent of the 60s and pops online and on its packaging. Shades of blue, pinks, and peachy tones color its website and feed. To tie it all together is “the drip.” Each jar highlights the consistency of granola butter with a curvy border above the logo, unique to its flavor.
“The drip” now feels like somewhat of a trademark of Oat Haus’ granola butter, one that can be utilized in messaging, packaging, and merchandise, and, again, is consistent with its overall branding. Drip shades were added to their merch collection, as well as “free the drip” tank tops, and surely there’s more to come.
Keeping up with trends
As with new slang, trends sprout up every day and seemingly become invasive in a matter of hours across social media platforms. Oat Haus does a fabulous job of hopping on the big trends while they’re still hot.
A trend that’s recently gone viral is: “he’s a [number] but he [does this].” While not the most compelling trend of late, it allowed Oat Haus to stay in touch with the modern consumer.
“He’s a 1 but eats granola butter every morning” was their take, meaning this imagined man’s rating would increase because of his love for granola butter. It’s a clever use of the trend to promote their product to the modern consumer.
Plus, all of Oat Haus’ videos are on both Instagram and TikTok, where they’ve garnered over a million likes. You might not be on TikTok, but there’s no doubt you know of it and its power to propel people and brands to the top.
Offering irresistible deals to reel in the modern consumer
Who can resist a good deal, especially if free swag is involved?
A few months ago, I got a text alert that Oat Haus was giving away free bucket hats with a bundle purchase. (Shoutout to text alerts as a solid marketing strategy.) My jars weren’t empty. It wasn’t time to restock, but the promise of a baby blue bucket hat with the Oat Haus logo was too sweet to pass up.
They got my business and some free-ish advertising, since I’ll be promoting them every time I wear the hat out.
Actively interacting with followers
Building a community for your brand requires regular communication.
If you look through some of Oat Haus’ Instagram posts, you’ll notice that they reply to every comment. This prevents customers from “talking to a wall,” and it humanizes both the customer and the brand.
The tone of their replies is the same as what I discussed earlier, punctuated with peppy emojis.
I can also confirm that they reply to DMs. (To how many, I cannot confirm.)
Social media maintenance and reciprocal communication is key to customer engagement and loyalty. Marketing to the modern consumer leaves behind the days of impersonal messaging.
Further increase engagement by exciting customers, so that they’ll be eagerly checking your brand’s socials or signing up for newsletters to get all the details about upcoming launches.
Before the new coffee flavor was released, the Oat Haus team hyped its followers by drawing out the announcement.
I partook in the Instagram story polls regarding which flavor we thought was coming out, some of our guesses shared by Oat Haus (re: creating a community). Then it was narrowed down to a small selection to choose from, before coffee was officially announced to be the next granola butter flavor.
I admit, this tactic worked like a charm. I was desperate to discover the new flavor. When it was finally shared, I texted friends about it, some of whom are now on track to become customers.
Promotion didn’t stop there, of course. A slew of Instagram reels and tempting photos were posted: the making of an oat milk latte-which is all the rage today-using the coffee granola butter, a photo of someone pretending to drink from the jar, the recipe for a coffee granola butter espresso martini, etc.
When my coffee granola butter arrived in the mail, it came with that latte recipe. That prompted me to test it out. Oat Haus knows what they’re doing.
Innovative problem solving
Inevitably, there will be hiccups in business. It’s how you handle them that matters.
When the chocolate chip cookie dough flavor received complaints for the chips melting before arrival in the hotter temps, Oat Haus rebranded it for the summer. They turned a problem into an exciting opportunity for customers to customize their cookie dough.
They began selling chipless cookie dough granola butter and promoted the concept of “BYOC,” bring your own chips. Pretty ingenious.
We all should be taking notes on Oat Haus’ strategies for marketing to the modern consumer. Build a community. Be active on social media. Innovate. All to make your product irresistible.
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