Boosting franchisee communication and market expansion through top-of-funnel awareness.
Kneaders Bakery & Café is an award-winning, fast-casual restaurant with locations across the Rocky Mountain region. Kneaders uses the highest quality ingredients to create fresh European hearth breads, delicious sandwiches, mouthwatering pastries, hearty soups, and refreshing salads, all made in-house each day.
The fast casual marketplace is highly competitive and over the years has experienced a decrease in customer count due to the increase of at-home meal-kit providers. But that didn’t mean that restaurants catering to families and to busy, working individuals didn’t have a place and couldn’t tap into a customer base that still desired fast, healthy, delicious, and well-prepared food that was more than a few steps up above the standard drive-through. Confident in its quality and in the opportunities, Kneaders set out on an expansion program that included the opening of franchised-owned locations in seven western states, including Colorado. But expansion in a decreasing marketplace is no easy task.
The overriding goal was to quickly raise awareness through promotion bursts while maintaining top-of-mind awareness through story-telling dialogue. Along with the Kneaders’ marketing team, Avocet developed three areas of external focus, including product quality, community outreach, and customer experience. Additionally, an internal emphasis was placed on our “boots on the ground” approach with multiple franchisors.
Avocet implemented local growth strategies through earned, shared, and paid initiatives, including event marketing, public relations, social content, community outreach, social advertising, search, radio, and a broad display advertising program that included pre-roll, keywords, and retargeting.
The paid advertising approach highlighted promotions while PR, media relations, and content supported the brand outside of the promotional windows.
Just as important was to establish one-on-one relationships with each franchisee, a strategy that allowed us to bridge corporate brand compliance and drive local campaign management through weekly on-deck reports and quarterly team meetings.
Through leveraging behavioral customer data and analytics, we were able to pinpoint the amount of marketing activity an individual customer needed each month to drive repeat visits.
Our PR and media relations efforts were proactive and creative. They centered around seasonal, holiday, promotional, and how-to-recipe-themed pitches geared to drive customers into the stores to purchase items and specific ingredients. Over two years, our Earned Media Value exceeded investment 3.25X. Additionally, we orchestrated several promotional events – supported by digital strategies – including the All You Knead is Love and the Hope Fight Childhood Cancer campaigns.
During a period where fast casual restaurants were experiencing an annual declining revenue average of 6%, Avocet, the Kneaders’ internal marketing team, and local franchisees maintained even growth. Considering Kneaders was a “new” brand in an over-saturated marketplace, the results were considered phenomenal.