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What Every Brand Can Learn from Butterball Turkey

Jackie Lampugnano

Butterball Turkey might not be the “hippest” brand out there—it’s a brand of turkey, after all. Butterball gets most of its publicity during the holiday season (especially around Thanksgiving) and when most of us think of Butterball, we think along the lines of: traditional and classic.

There’s nothing wrong with this brand image, but it’s not one typically associated with cutting edge strategies that other brands can learn from.

Well, there is one key lesson that every brand can learn from Butterball Turkey: evolution. If Butterball didn’t evolve throughout the years, it wouldn’t be the household name/go-to brand of turkey for your holiday party.

What did Butterball Turkey do that every brand can learn from?

Engagement 101: The Turkey Talk-Line

Everyone knows about the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line (or at least I’m assuming you do because I do and I don’t cook…ever).  In case you aren’t aware, it’s Butterball Turkey’s toll-free hotline that operates around Thanksgiving. It’s designed so that anyone can call to get advice/help on how to cook their turkey from the turkey experts.

The Turkey Talk-Line is customer engagement in its simplest form. Customers had questions and Butterball found a way to provide answers. I’m sure a lot of people were thankful for the Talk-Line over the years.

Phone to Website

If the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line remained as a toll-free hotline, it would’ve become much more ineffective as people increasingly turned to the Internet for information. Butterball might have missed a great opportunity to engage with customers.  But it didn’t. Butterball rolled out expert turkey advice features on its website, including web chats and email features (

The 1-800 hotline still exists for those who prefer to communicate that way, but Butterball found a way to evolve as a new medium (Internet) emerged. Better yet, the brand continued to evolve its website to include multimedia: today the website features how-to videos, cooking calculators and more.

Website to Mobile

Mobile is another instance where Butterball found a way to adjust to the times. Mobile devices and SMS texting became main forms of communication, so Butterball rolled out another Talk-Line feature: Turkey Texts. You can now text the word “TURKEY” to a shortcode from your mobile phone to receive information on all things turkey—how much to buy, when to start thawing, cooking temperatures, etc.

Butterball Turkey also boasts a mobile-optimized website for those looking to get a recipe or other advice on the fly.


Mobile to Social

Last year Butterball brought its Turkey Talk-Line to the social media space. It rolled out both a Facebook and Twitter account. By expanding into social media, Butterball was able to provide a hub for giving/receiving real-time advice while creating a community where Thanksgiving cooks can connect with one another. Good call, Butterball.

Keeping with the social theme, also has a blog and features popular lifestyle bloggers on its website (Susan Wager of and Chris Jordan of who will be posting ideas and personal anecdotes from October to November.


Today: Multi-Channel Turkey Assistance

Butterball successfully expanded its Turkey Talk-Line to what it is today: Multi-channel engagement. Instead of falling off the radar and/or losing customers, Butterball brought itself up to speed with the times and continued to engage via a combination of traditional and new channels.

Nowadays there are all different generations of people cooking turkeys for Thanksgiving, and each one has a preference on how they prefer to seek out their turkey-cooking advice. Good thing Butterball Turkey is smart and figured out how to accommodate everyone.

What will Butterball do next?

For more information, view this press release.