In an effort to engage its fans on Facebook, Pita Pit will hold a contest on the popular social network that will let the public name the concept’s newest pita.

The “Name That Pita” contest, which will be held from March 21 to March 27, will ask fans to come up with a name for the new, limited-time Prime Rib and Provolone Pita and then vote on their favorite submission.

Peter Riggs, vice president of the corporate business unit for the Idaho-based quick-serve chain, says the promotion is one way the company is making sure the brand is moving in a direction that is satisfactory to consumers, and that the corporate team is not “making decisions in a vacuum.”

“We are very much customer-oriented when it comes to everything we do,” Riggs says. “We always want feedback from our customers on how we’re doing, how they feel about our offerings, our operations, everything. If there are things that they can see we can be doing better, we take that under serious consideration.”

Riggs says something like the name of a menu item can have big implications for a brand; the Big Mac and Quarter Pounder, for example, are practically synonymous with McDonald’s. He says Pita Pit is trying to let customers be involved with these sorts of momentous brand decisions.

“It’s something that has become associated with the brand,” he says. “That’s kind of what we’re looking to do. Anything that you do, if you do it well, can be integrated with the brand if there’s thoughtful consideration put into it at the outset.”

Though Facebook is an important part of Pita Pit’s future, Riggs says, the company stops short of using it as a traditional marketing medium. Instead, Pita Pit uses it as a “constant free and open communication with our friends,” he says.

“Too often a business will try to push things, they’ll try to sell things, they’ll try to use it as a gateway to try to do something specific with their customers that they’re interacting with on Facebook,” he says. “A lot of times it’s very off-putting for those people that have made Facebook a part of their everyday life.”

And while most marketing campaigns have decisive terms by which return on investment is measured, Riggs says the success of a Facebook strategy is different and is more about engagement and authenticity. For the “Name That Pita” contest, for example, Riggs says success will be getting a good name for the new pita.

“If I only get five submissions for the name, and those five names are great names, then terrific; the contest has been worthwhile,” he says.

By Sam Oches

Marketing & Promotions, Menu Innovations, News, Sandwiches, Pita Pit