Ben & Jerry’s Holds Annual 'Free Cone Day' With Yext
- Food & Service
- 586 Locations
- Burlington, Vermont
Ben & Jerry’s began as a single store operating out of a converted gas station, and has grown into a global brand, one of the world’s most popular purveyors of ice cream, frozen yogurt, non-dairy frozen dessert, and sorbet. Since 1978, the Vermont-based ice cream company has cultivated a loyal following, as much for its socially responsible business practices as its delicious, eclectically named flavors.
Free Cone Day is an annual celebration at Ben & Jerry’s, serving free ice cream for fans at their scoop shops around the world. The tradition started back in 1979 at that first shop in Burlington, Vermont, to thank customers for the love and support they showed Ben & Jerry’s in its first year.
“On Free Cone Day, every shop is open for the same period of time, from noon to 8pm, and all we do is scoop cups and cones all day — you can’t get anything else off the menu,” explains Jay Kasparian, Associate Brand Manager, Scoop Shops. “From a franchisee perspective, it’s a busy day. They have a lot to focus on — from managing the line to keeping the shop clean to keeping scoopers excited throughout the day.”
Ben and Jerry’s Challenge
Before Ben & Jerry’s partnered with Yext, it faced the challenge of editing and publishing key scoop shop information for Free Cone Day — such as special hours — across the web. More consumers are finding their local Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops on third-party services like Google, Siri, and Yelp instead of the brand’s website. Ben & Jerry’s partnered with Yext to take control of their brand information and to improve search discoverability.
Ben & Jerry’s strategy for reaching customers where they’re searching has evolved as search has grown more intelligent. Due to the difficulty of managing event-specific information at scale, the brand was using a single Free Cone Day Facebook Event across all of its 580+ global locations. It was not only essential that Kasparian ensure the addresses and hours of each location were updated across the tools customers use to find Ben & Jerry’s — he needed new ways to inform customers about Free Cone Day. “It’s a chance to increase our reach, and make sure we’re checking all the boxes of all the possible places customers can learn about the event.”
Ben & Jerry’s jumped at the opportunity to partner with Yext to take control of this widespread misinformation across the web and to manage event information on an international scale from a single dashboard. Yext fuels event discovery by publishing event details to top sites like Google, Facebook, Eventbrite, Eventful, and more, through a business’s own intelligent events calendar.
Using Yext, Kasparian was able to create 200 events and 800 event listings for Free Cone Day across 8 publishers, including Facebook, Eventbrite, Eventful, and Locanto, simply by uploading the event data into Yext. He accomplished in 2 hours what Yext estimates would have taken store managers collectively 200+ hours to do manually. As a result, managers were able to focus their efforts on the operational side of Free Cone Day, and not have to worry about managing their location-specific brand information.
“It was a way for us to actually scale individual shop events across our scoop shop system. So instead of having shops do it manually or individually on their end, we had one place to set up and then execute and push out,” says Kasparian. “It’s become much easier to manage.”
Yext makes it possible to create optimized event pages and intelligent calendars, so key details, like what time an event starts and how to get there, show up directly in knowledge cards and voice search answers to get attendees the last mile to the door.
“Yext gave us an easy solution to update hours across all participating shops for Free Cone Day, a simple, but key piece to help make Free Cone Day a success,” Kasparian says. “The retail business in scoop shops is about to start kicking off for summer here in the U.S. Free Cone Day is a nice way to get the teams fired up — it’s about celebrating the whole brand. It’s a nice hook to bring people in, not only to the shops, but get our brand top-of-mind as we enter peak ice cream season.”
- Yext managed data for 200 events and created 800 event listings for Free Cone Day across Facebook, Eventbrite, Eventful, and Locanto.
- Ben & Jerry’s accomplished in 2 hours what would have taken store managers collectively 200+ hours to do manually.
- Ben & Jerry’s saw 6 million impressions and received 128k+ “Interested” or “Going” RSVPs to its Free Cone Day Facebook Events over less than one month leading up to the big day.
- Free Cone Day drove 1.3 million free scoops of ice cream.
Leading up to Free Cone Day, Ben & Jerry’s events managed through Yext received 6 million event impressions and 128,000 “Interested” or “Going” engagements on Facebook — contributing to 1.3 million scoops served on the big day.
Centralizing their brand verified information helps Ben & Jerry’s make Free Cone Day more discoverable — and allows franchisees to focus on the customer experience on an exceptionally busy day. “Yext gives us an easy, out-of-sight, out-of-mind solution that takes something off individual franchisees’ plates and lets them have more time to celebrate with our fans on Free Cone Day!”