As a working mom with two, busy, school-aged kids, the fast-casual dining experience is a frequent entrant in my meal-time routine, and I am not alone – the segment is one of the fastest growing in the dining industry.
How did Full Contact follow up last year’s wildly successful campaign for Cumberland Farms Farmhouse Blend coffee? By tapping into the awesome and skyrocketing star power of comedian, writer and TV radio host Nikki Glaser. This fully integrated campaign continues to position the delicious 99¢ Farmhouse Blend as the Great No Brainer in the coffee world. Have a look…
There are a lot of megabrands who do a phenomenal job marketing themselves to a national, even global audience. The challenges occur when these same brands try to connect with consumers on a more local level. Anyone who lives in the Boston market has seen evidence of this: the baked bean references, Tea Party jokes, and of the course obligatory “pahk the cahh” headline. In some ways it is no different when you see a famous Hollywood actor butcher the local dialect. It is anything but genuine and fails to make a connection with the local audience. Not to mention it just sounds godawful.
Call me old fashioned (or just old), but I remember when I was growing up we had four options for dining out – a local pizza place, McDonald’s, the “fancy restaurant” with the real tablecloths and the diner. Being picky or having high expectations for the dining experience wasn’t really an option. You just went where you went and ate what you ate.
Good Lord have things changed.
My kids now have upwards of 40 dining options in a 10 mile radius – and I live deep in the suburbs. Last night, we literally had a fifteen minute debate over which Hibachi place we wanted to go to (of the 4 local options – FOUR. LOCAL. HIBACHI. OPTIONS!).
I provide the above as context for some research we conducted here at Full Contact on the fast casual restaurant space. As a working mom with two kids, fast casual is a frequent savior for me. It’s the go-to when there is no time to make a meal, when we need a break from the weekday meal monotony, or when we are running between errands and just need a quick bite. I think many people view fast casual as a savior for the reasons I note above, but according to our research, that does not mean that people don’t still have high expectations for what fast casual restaurants should provide.
According to our survey* of 751 adults, diners seek benefits more often associated with a sit-down restaurant experience from their fast casual counterparts. For example:
In the coming weeks we will share further findings about the restaurant landscape but for now, if you manage any sort of restaurant brand in this hyper-competitive category (FOUR HIBACHI OPTIONS!), I suggest you consider not just the brands you compete against but also how the increase in competition has fueled the expectations of today’s diner.
[Note: Survey hosted by ProdegeMR. Responses gathered from 751 Adults age 18+; balanced to US Census on age, gender, region and household income]
Last spring, we sat down on a nice couch. It belonged to Lisa Rodericks, the CMO at Cambridge Savings Bank, and we were there to talk about the evolution of her brand campaign, Always You – an idea that’s all about treating every customer like they’re the only customer. Lisa is cool, very down-to-earth. She told us that she wanted a campaign that felt very real, while telling us in a way that felt, well… very real.
Her team at CSB was doing a lot of things that other banks weren’t. So one by one, Lisa listed them, arguing “Who does that?” And she was right. They had taken the time to develop products and practices that were unique – which, if you know the banking industry, is not easy.
So, we came back to her with an idea that stemmed from that first conversation:
Who does that? We do that.
It was a campaign that embraced the fact that people would be skeptical of a community bank making these claims, and used their disbelief to create simple conversations that helped us put those misconceptions to bed. Here’s a few of the new spots which started airing last month.
These were a lot of fun to make. And it’s always nice to hear that customers are writing in to tell the bank things like, “Great ad. Maybe the first bank ad I’ve ever liked.”
I give a lot of credit to Lisa and her entire team for sharing a vision for where their brand could and should go. And for trusting us to deliver on the idea – which really benefitted from some great casting, great producing and directing from Jonathan Bekemier & Red Tree, editing from Peel & Eat, and sonic landscaping from Mike Letourneau at Soundtrack.