Q: Your last column recommended putting a priority on influencers to spark word-of-mouth marketing. Can you explain more about how to use influencers?
Denise Lee Yohn
Q: Everyone says word-of-mouth marketing is the best form of marketing, but how do you actually create it?
This month I’m answering three questions that were submitted through our online question form. While the questions cover a range of issues in the industry, the common theme is to ensure you’re asking the right question in the first place.
I have recently opened my quick serve, and for the first two weeks, response was very good. Now suddenly my sales have gone down and I don’t know what to do. Please give me some marketing ideas to reach more people.
—Anil Patil, Mr. Hungry
Q: We're committed to offering a streamlined menu, so we don't want to introduce a bunch of new products. What other options do we have for creating news to promote our business?
A: Great question, especially in light of recent reports that suggest the quick-serve category has become so saturated with new products that brands are reaching the point of diminishing returns.
Q: We've recently been presented with some very attractive opportunities that have the potential to really grow our company. How should we evaluate these?
Q: I'm thinking about updating my website soon. Anything I should know for that process?
A: With social media and mobile being so prominent in the marketing landscape these days, many people have stopped tending to their websites. But your website can continue to play a critical role in your company's marketing and communications strategies. The way it plays that role, however, needs to change.
Q: Other restaurants seem to be moving away from 99-cent-and-under value menus. So what is the right discounting strategy?
A: True, McDonald's has replaced its Value Menu with the Dollar Menu & More, and Wendy's 99 Cent Menu has been reconceived as the Right Price Right Size menu. But that doesn't mean the category has forsaken discounts as its primary traffic-driving tactic.
Q: What is a "brand positioning," and do I need one for my restaurant?
A: A brand positioning is a strategy statement that explains whom you are selling to, what your business scope is, and what you do to create value for your customers. A clear, definitive, and competitive brand positioning is essential to developing a great brand. So, yes, you need one.
Q: What does it take for a quick-service brand to become a great brand?
A: I get this question all the time. Many people look at superstar brands like Apple, Southwest Airlines, and Nike and mistakenly conclude those companies achieved their successes as a result of good timing, great advertising, or just plain luck. But I’ve found that these companies have employed specific, somewhat surprising, techniques that have turned them into industry icons.
My year-end top brand stories recap was well received last year, and I decided to do it again. I’ll break from my usual Q&A format to recap this year’s most important brand developments in fast food.