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Social Media Highlight: Penzeys

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Here in Pittsburgh, there’s a Penzeys spice store in the famous Strip District. It’s nestled between local stores that are frequented by locals and tourists alike: Penn Mac, Wholey’s, and Mancini’s Bread (yes, it’s the bread used for Primanti Brothers’ sandwiches).

Penzeys is an experience all in itself – a store with hardwood floors and bags and bottles of spices everywhere – plus recipes for how to use them and employees who know a thing or two about spices.

With their headquarters based in Wisconsin, Penzeys deserves some praise for what they’ve been doing with their social media.

Penzeys Social Media Highlight

It’s a strategy that plugs into the mission of the company.

The why.

The heartbeat of Penzeys.

And it’s beautifully executed using one social media platform: Facebook.

Instead of hiding from the fire, they race toward it.

That fire is politics in the U.S. and here are some highlights for how they’re using social media – Facebook in particular – to boldly announce their inclusive points of views – and oh, hey, blowing up their online sales while they’re at it.

Facebook Post #1: The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election – “Cooking Trumps Racism”

example of great social media marketing - penzys
You can read the full post here.


This is where it all began. Sure, Penzeys had a social media presence before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but posting was sporadic and mostly promoted their newsletter and spices.

Then the election happened, and Bill Penzey, the CEO of Penzeys, wrote an email, which got big coverage. In it, he said,

“The open embrace of racism by the Republican Party in this election is now unleashing a wave of ugliness unseen in this country for decades. The American people are taking notice. Let’s commit to giving the people a better choice. Our kindness really is our strength.”

While this rubbed some people the wrong way – and he does go out of his way to clarify that he does not believe that all members of the Republican party are racist – this starts the spice company’s journey to being a part of something bigger.

To making America kind again.


Facebook Post #2: Healthcare and the Affordable Care Act

In this post, Bill continues the message of the impact of cooking – it is kindness and it also has an enormous impact on your overall health.

He shared a story from a comment in another Facebook post as a way to highlight the potential repercussions of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.


Facebook Post #3: Women’s March

In a show of solidarity with the January 2017 Women’s March, Penzeys gave out heart-shaped pins with the word “Kind” across them.

His reasoning?

“In seeing the determination, empathy, strength, clarity of vision and, yes, kindness in the answers to your reasons for marching, I am left with no doubt that January 21, 2017 will be a day History will long remember. Do what you can to be a part of this turning point event. History really does have its eyes on all of us. Support the Marchers however you can.”


Facebook Post #4: Tsardust


This may qualify as “trolling” for some people, but he went out of his way to clarify that Russian people are not the enemy, saying:

“Tsardust is an amazingly good blend. These are flavors that Americans are familiar with, but how, over the decades and even centuries, Russian cooks evolved the way they brought these flavors together to please those they cooked for really is something worthy of our attention and respect. The Russian people are not our enemies. If the allegations about the election prove true, the enemies of Democracy are not the people of either of our two countries, but the leadership.”


Facebook Post #5: Marriage Equality

The Penzeys brand celebrated the second anniversary of marriage equality becoming the law of the land – and they offered Pride-related spices and blends all month long.


Facebook Post #4: Business Growth, Gratitude and a Reminder of What They Stand for


This one talks about their 1,600% spike in online sales. All because Penzeys – a spice company – remained true to their brand.

Yes, there’s a person behind their Facebook pages, managing it, replying to product questions, and making general comments.

Yes, there’s a President/CEO giving the go-ahead to take such bold stances – because being a conservative brand seems so much safer.

Yes, there are many other voices, belonging to Penzeys employees, who are a part of it.

But making it come alive through their social media is what sets them apart.

Facebook for Your Business

So, for a second, forget about your product, your service, or whatever it is you sell.

Think about your brand – what does it stand for?

Write it down.


That is what you should be using to create your social media content.

Authenticity is the hottest currency in marketing right now.

Any business – hours old or centuries old – can use it.

How will you use it for your business?


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