As HuHot Mongolian Grill continues to thrive as one of the leading concepts in the Mongolian category, the need to define the brand as well as the category becomes increasingly important. Consumer research, brand positioning, and a new tagline provide the foundation to face the competition head on. HuHot is now poised for success in 2011 and beyond.
After 12 years of successful growth of sales and units, leadership at HuHot knew it was time to speak to regular and lapsed customers to dial in on what’s so special about HuHot and what brings them through the door. An extensive research study composed of in-depth customer interviews and an online survey across all HuHot markets was conducted by an external research firm. The findings confirmed the high satisfaction that customers experience when they dine at HuHot; however, there were opportunities to increase top-of-mind awareness and visits with all customers.
Being a part of an underdeveloped category like Mongolian called for HuHot to remove the veil of mystique so all consumers could understand and appreciate it. Through an intense brand positioning exercise, HuHot determined its target audience and positioning in the marketplace. “Once people experience the brand, they love the brand and they find it compelling to come back, but figuring out exactly what brings them in as it compares to our competitors was the real challenge,” says Stephanie Krause, marketing director for HuHot Mongolian Grills LLC. Honing in on the top attributes and simplifying the message was the next step.
Once all of HuHot’s franchisees were on board with the new brand positioning, it was time to turn that information into action. An internal brainstorm of taglines took place, then an online survey to find out what those top taglines meant to consumers. Based on the results and collaboration with franchisees, HuHot announced its new tagline: “Create. Feast. Repeat.”
“We believe our new tagline clearly communicates what people may not know or what they love about HuHot: you create your own meal from ingredients you pick, you enjoy it after it’s been cooked right in front of you, then you can go do it all again,” Krause says. “No one has ever made it that simple to understand.” Create. Feast. Repeat. will be used on all in-restaurant marketing materials and external advertising to ensure it’s widely adopted.