Differentiation is how brands compete in overcrowded markets. One way to do that is through the audiences you target. Here’s how it worked for Arby’s.
Regular Social Media Monitoring Makes it Easier to See Sudden Changes
Arby’s smartly set themselves apart from the burger-driven Quick Serve Restaurant (QSR) options early on. Famous for their roast beef, they set a new marketing course in 2014 to remind diners they also have great chicken, turkey, fish and corned beef. As part of this plan, they updated their slogan to “We’ve got the meats!”
A brand’s job, however, is to constantly evolve – but that evolution should never be random. Social media monitoring provides the data to make intelligent decisions.
In Arby’s case, using social data to understand their audience is a regular part of operations. They follow a number of audience segments, tracking trends and preferences, which is how they noticed when a new and passionate segment suddenly emerged.
The Hunt Is On
When you identify a new segment based on affinity for your brand, as well as other shared interests, the next step is to follow the conversation to ensure you understand why this segment is talking about you – and what exactly they’re saying.
Arby’s new segment was hunters – an unfamiliar, but enthusiastic, audience segment for the restaurant brand.
Following social monitoring best practices, they used NetBase sentiment analysis tools to follow the conversation and learn what motivates this particular segment.
One topic of conversation was about enjoying venison after a successful deer hunt – which got Arby’s wondering if they could succeed by offering a venison sandwich for the hunting crowd.
They did just that in select test markets.
Dividing Allows You to Conquer Successfully
This is the beauty of segmenting your audience. You can make decisions and narrow your actions to a particular geographic region, or for a particular segment, etc. Not every fan of your brand will like every new product or service, but if you focus your efforts on the fans who will, you’ll succeed without alienating your core customer base.
Understanding sentiment is crucial, however. Unless your audience really, really wants what you’re offering, it’s not worth expending the energy or the resources. Luckily, Arby’s had enough data to believe the hunting contingent would embrace the new menu item.
And they did. The hunting segment loved the sandwich, and it generated a lot of social buzz – which created curiosity and interest by other diners who weren’t as familiar with the Arby’s brand. That’s a big win.
— GunUp (@GunUp) December 15, 2017
The Really Delicious Tidbit You Should Take Away
It’s important to note Arby’s didn’t just decide to offer a new sandwich and create one. They seized an opportunity that presented itself, and decided a new menu item was the perfect way to leverage it. Different social data would have inspired a different plan.
What’s amazing is how they didn’t limit their response to the social data to marketing initiatives alone. It’s a mistake many other brands make – assuming any conversation is proof enough of brand awareness.
The reality is, social data is simply a starting point for shaping strategies across your brand. Marketing is a great way to apply social data, of course, but it also can impact choices you make in innovation – as it did here – customer service, sales, and more.
When you’ve got the data to know your plans are bound to succeed – that really is satisfying.