Since its founding in 1964, Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. has been a leading international quick-service restaurant company with more than 3,400 restaurants worldwide. Their founders, Leroy and Forrest Raffel wanted to market on a fast food franchise that served other than hamburgers. The first Arby’s opened on July 23, 1964 in Boardman, Ohio serving freshly sliced beef sandwiches. Arby’s creation of the freshly sliced roast beef sandwiches continues to inspire smiles through their delicious experience. Problem:
In early 2014, Arby’s seen a decline in brand awareness amongst millennials, people ages 18 to 34 across the nation. Arby’s found that the declining of their brand awareness among consumers were due to inconsistent national conversations outside of product advertising and limited-time offerings. After conducting research, in order to reach the younger demographic Arby’s preferred to connect with their consumers on a personal level. Arby’s sought to use social media to incorporate the brand into current pop-culture conversations to connect the younger demographic.
To drive engagement during a moment of time, Arby’s team used a PR tactic to create a social media “active listening” command center in January 2014. Opportunity: During the 2014 Grammy Awards, Arby’s seized the perfect opportunity to insert their brand into a pop culture conversation. Throughout the Grammy’s viewers began tweeting about singer/songwriter Pharrell William’s Vivienne Westwood mountain hat that resembled the Arby’s logo.
Taking advantage of this opportunity, Arby’s team tweeted: “Hey @Pharrell can we have our hat back? resulting in an ongoing conversation and immediate response from Pharrell tweeting back, “Yall tryna have a roast beef”. Research: Arby’s marketing and public relation teams used primary and secondary research, consisting of brand tracking data, media audits, and consumer trends to determine the cause of low consumer participation. During their research Arby’s found that 35 percent of their consumer audience were more likely to use social media three times a day or more.
Researched also showed that 34 percent of its growth consumer audience were more likely to be well-informed of changes in current styles, fashion and pop culture and 53 percent were more likely to post or comment on social sharing sites. Arby’s researched also revealed that fifty-one percent of consumers did things in the spur of the moment. Based off this information, Arby’s created a social media command center to build engagement amongst their target audience. Target Audience: Arby’s wanted to target the younger demographic, ages 18-34, to reach more than their main demographic.
To increase brand awareness and loyalty amongst the younger demographic, Arby’s utilized social media to engage their brand in pop culture conversations. Objectives: Due to Arby’s decline in brand awareness among millennials, the Arby’s team developed a plan centered on inserting their brand into a pop-culture conversation.
The team’s objectives were to: • Actively listen to online conversations driven by Arby’s target demographic to determine opportune moments for engaging with millennials. (Output) Initiate consumer engagement with Arby’s Twitter platform (Behavioral) • Amplify awareness through traditional media relations outreach and look to extend engagement over time. (Informational) Suggestions: Informational- To increase the companies brand awareness and loyalty amongst the younger demographic. (By 35% among Twitter users) Attitudinal- To change the perception of Arby’s brand by 30% amongst younger demographic from January to December. Behavioral- To engage in 5 live pop-culture events in the year of 2014. Enhancements:
Arby’s could have used another social media platform, for an example Instagram to spark conversation and participation with the younger demographic. Incentives could have been used to get the consumers to visit their nearest Arby’s. They could have provided a free Arby’s combo meal to the first 1,000 followers to Tweet a picture of them wearing a hat that resembled the Arby’s logo. Arby’s could have teamed up with Pharrell and created a commercial for their brand. A meet and greet with Pharrell could have been hosted at the Newsuem to raise funds for his charity as well as promote Arby’s brand.
Programming/Execution: • Slogan Arby’s Tips Their Hats to Millennials • Actions and Events Live Tweeting during The Grammy’s & The Oscars, The Newseum hat unveiling event • Controlled Media Arby’s Website, Twitter account, Vine Post, Speeches from Arby’s executives at the hat unveiling event • Uncontrolled Media Bloggers, Exclusive with the Washington Post & NBC’s TODAY, Pharrell’s Tweet, • Effective Communication Principles o Verbal Cues Arby’s used simple word choice in their dialogue in order to gain and preserve the interest of their target audience.
They created a message that was appropriate to the client, audience, and occasion. In a tweet Arby’s referenced Pharrell’s song “Happy” when they said “We’re HAPPY to support a great cause & get out hat back. ” This verbal cue created a sense that Arby’s is transitioning into the pop culture world. o Nonverbal Cues The Arby’s logo is a nonverbal cue that caused so much resembled Pharrell’s Vivienne Westwood mountain hat Using their Twitter platform, Arby’s created a funny and friendly atmosphere during their campaign to reach the younger demographic. o Two-Way Communication
The purpose of this campaign was for Arby’s to facilitate engagement amongst younger consumers. With the use of their Twitter platform, Arby’s Arby’s extended the engagement with Pharrell by after their tweet and his retweet by participating in the auctioning of his hat. After winning the bid, to continue Arby’s tweeted:”@Pharrell You’re welcome. We’re HAPPY to support a great cause & get our hat back. Good Luck at the #Oscars tonight! ” o Opinion Leaders Pharrell didn’t have an official contract with Arby’s but he contributed to helping Arby’s reach the younger demographic.
Arby’s effectively extended the engagement with Pharrell by winning the bid for his hat that was auctioned on eBay. o Audience Participation Twitter allowed Arby’s to spark conversation with their audience as well as receive audience participation. Following the Tweet, Arby’s received 83,085 retweets and 48,938 favorites during the Grammys. Seeing these numbers, Arby’s simple tweet received tremendous audience participation. The Grammys were only the beginning to an ongoing high participation rate amongst the younger demographic.
Evaluation: During the 2014 Grammys, Arby’s made social media history by simply listening. Arby’s wanted to change the younger demographics perception and did just that when presented with the perfect opportunity to include themselves in a pop culture conversation. Their brand was able to expose themselves to a real-time conversation when they tweeted Pharrell about their hat catching the interest of a new generation of consumers. This campaign lasted a year with countless tweets and social media posts that helped change the perception of Arby’s brand.
During the Grammy’s Arby’s received 83,085 retweets, 48,938 favorites, 6,000 new Twitter followers, and increased Arby’s mentions by 763 percent. Arby’s received nothing but positive feedback from this great moment in time campaign. The excitement only intensified to bigger things when Arby’s strategically continued the engagement with Pharrell by bidding on his hat and wishing him good luck during the Oscars.
Arby’s made a smart move by taking this campaign to the next level and housing Pharrell’s hat in the Newsuem in Washington D. C. I really liked how Arby’s was able to utilize a real-time marketing opportunity that didn’t consist of hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising and still made history. A lot of experts and media outlets took notice of Arby’s simple but cleaver top marketing moment in 2014. This campaign was ranked #5 on list of Top Marketing Tweets in the Huffington Post in August of 2014. This campaign was also beneficial on a business aspect as well providing a percentage sales growth that outpaced their competition by 2. 6 percent. Arby’s capitalized on a great opportunity and made social media history.