You want to know how to kick start a brand in a new territory? Hint: it’s not Facebook.
Our client is a franchise restaurant with a new franchisee who’d been sucking wind since opening his Kansas City-area location about a month ago. Was the location lousy? Right behind the Wal-Mart — probably not. The food? Nope; they sell a fantastic charbroiled burger and fries at a reasonable price in a pleasant fast casual atmosphere. Besides, there hadn’t been enough customers since opening to judge the food good or bad.
We‘re engaged to help the franchisor build their brand for the long term. But this franchisee needed help — fast. With limited money, a fractured media environment and a ticking clock, we opted for a traditional solution — direct mail promotion — figuring if we could get a 1% response rate, delight the new customers, collect some contact info, and follow up, we’d help save the location and worry more about the brand essentials in the morning.
To his credit, the franchisee was willing to pony up a serious promotion — a free 1/2-lb. burger, fries and soft drink, no other purchase necessary. Doesn’t get much better than that. We created a strong oversized postcard, communicated the brand essentials, and let it fly.
What a pleasure it was when we got the email one afternoon about lines of customers leading out the door into the parking lot. All told, we made almost a thousand new customers in less than two weeks — over a 9% response! And all of them sampled the signature dish.
Was the promotion a substitute for strong brand development? Of course not. Can we promote our way to success? No way. But in case we needed a reminder, we proved plenty of customers will respond to a big ol’ promotion simply delivered. And once you make new customers, a strong brand will keep ‘em.