Face it: PowerBar vs. Clif Bar

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Face It

For this edition, we take a look at energy bar titans PowerBar and Clif Bar. Here are two extremely similar products that offer the same benefits and sell at comparable price points.  For many businesses, this overlap of features and benefits is common. We all know that you deal with it through marketing. You have to set yourself apart from the competition and form a brand personae.  Facebook is nice because it allows businesses to extend their brand personalities beyond the four walls of their operations or the shelves on which their products sit.  So without further adieu, let’s take a look at the Facebook pages of Powerbar and Clif Bar separately and then compare them to see how well they are differentiating themselves.

PowerBar

PowerBar Facebook Landing Page

PowerBar Facebook Landing Page

The number one thing I like about PowerBar’s Facebook page is that its fans are using it as a place to interact with the brand in a conversational way.  As you examine the comments fans have posted to the wall, you’ll notice that PowerBar responds to nearly every one of them. This is essential for building rapport through social media.  I also like that PowerBar doesn’t simply discuss what it is doing as a company, it shares interesting articles about athletic events, health tips, and sports news. In doing this, PowerBar’s Facebook page feels much less corporate and more consumer driven.

I don’t like the overall blandness of the landing page.  If you take a look at PowerBar’s homepage, you’ll see more impressive visual elements. I don’t think that having a lot of visuals on a Facebook page is essential, but it can help in keeping an audience’s attention.  Furthermore, I don’t like that PowerBar’s basic information is posted twice on the left sidebar.  As a business you should really only have to post a brief about your brand once on your page.

Clif Bar

Clif Bar Facebook Landing Page

Clif Bar Facebook Landing Page

Clif Bar does a good job with interacting with its fans through its Facebook page. It does provide several useful links to its fans too.  I really like the fact that Clif Bar’s fans share a lot of photographs on the fan page.  One key attribute of social media is the abundance of user-generated content. As a business it’s a great thing to have your fans create visual content for you. There are countless examples of how businesses have boosted their revenues by crowdsourcing some of their content.  The user submitted labels on Jones Soda bottles are a classic example.  Just make sure that if you choose to do this, you understand the issues surrounding using intellectual property that you don’t own to promote your brand.

I don’t like that Clif Bar has a really nice homepage, but its Facebook page seems neglected. It is important to have some congruency between the two.  After all, if your goal with Facebook is to get more fans, how will you do that if your website is awesome and your fan page isn’t?

Comparison

When placed side by side, these two landing pages look nearly identical.  They have the same fan activity levels, they talk about the same subjects, they lack impressive visual elements, and they share the same information twice in their left sidebars. I think there is a lot of opportunity for the one to differentiate with their Facebook page because neither is doing it particularly well.  PowerBar is already starting to do this by running a sweepstakes under one of its page tabs.  What is impressive with Cliff Bar is that they have about half as many fans as PowerBar does yet they experience the same level of fan activity on their page.  What this tells me is that Clif Bar fans are either more passionate about the Clif Bar brand than PowerBar fans are or Clif Bar is doing a better job of engaging them.  Whatever the case may be, it is important to both allow your fans to express their love for your brand and to interact with them when they do.  As I mentioned before, this is essential for building rapport through social media.

Company Bios From Hoover’s

A leader in the world of high-carbohydrate snacks, PowerBar originally designed its energy bars for athletes. However, the company’s products are now available in a variety of flavors and are just as likely to be pulled out of purses and desk drawers and eaten as meal replacements. PowerBar also markets sport drinks called Endurance and Ironman, a protein powder drink mix under the ProteinPlus name, and a carbohydrate gel that comes in a variety of flavors. The company, a unit of Nestlé’s performance nutrition segment, sells its products in supermarkets and at health-food and sports retailers worldwide in more than 30 markets.

Clif Bar found a toehold in a niche market and has climbed steadily up ever since. The company is a leading maker of natural energy, nutrition, and snack bars. Its high-carbohydrate CLIF- and LUNA-branded bars are aimed at sports enthusiasts and busy folk of all stripes and are distributed in bike shops, outdoor stores, and natural food markets, as well as grocery stores, convenience stores, and other retail outlets nationwide. In addition to its CLIF and LUNA bars, the company offers various iterations of its product, including MOJO and Builder’s bars, along with children’s versions called ZBar and Twisted Fruit. The company also sells CLIF Shots — energy drinks and gels fortified with electrolytes.


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2 Responses to Face it: PowerBar vs. Clif Bar

  1. Tae says:

    How do you propose making the fb pages visually different and more like the websites. Facebook doesn’t allow that kind of design influence. Also as fan levels rise engagement goes down. You are essentially saying that coke is less successful socially than clif. Because their fans are less “engaged.” Probably want to rethink that position.

  2. Steve Hill says:

    Thank you for your comment Tae,

    Facebook does in fact allow customization of design elements on fan pages, however that cannot be done on the standard wall landing page. In order to build a custom landing page you will have to use the Static FBML application. This is a fairly straight forward process thanks to Facebook’s simple interface. Mashable has a pretty solid how-to guide if you are interested in finding out more about building a custom landing page for Facebook.

    As for Coke vs. Clif Bar, you hinted at the debate that is currently being waged between social media analysts for the last few years. Which is better? To have a lot of fans and minimal engagement or to less fans and a lot more engagement? I think the answer simply depends on the nature of your business.

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