OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE: Program Development, Blogger Identification, And Recruitment
Based on our recent restaurant survey statistics, we know that bloggers are rising in importance as a key channel where consumers research and validate their dining decisions. According to Angelsmith’s data, bloggers were cited as one of the top three places potential diners look for a new restaurant and bloggers were also listed before traditional newspaper restaurant critics when consumers do additional research after receiving a recommendations from a trusted friend.
For Outback Steakhouse, we identified, recommended and recruited dad bloggers for the Outback Dining with Dad program. Bloggers were evaluated and ranked based on criteria including fit for the brand; total digital footprint; cross-channel engagement; post frequency, traffic as well as in and outbound links.
Because influence is highly contextual, even though many bloggers appeared on “tops” lists, that in itself did not qualify them for the Outback program. Angelsmith utilized several listening and influencer tools, including Ecairn, to develop the list. After the list was developed, we carefully selected those individuals who we believed would be most compatible with Outback.
The primary goals of the program were to identify top influential digital dads to “get the conversation started” between the brand and the estimated 7 million online dads as well as provide a brand sampling experience to the influential digital dads and their social media friends, fans and followers.
The program was extremely well received by the bloggers and was oversubscribed by 40 percent with dad bloggers eagerly agreeing to participate with the leading casual dining chain.
We relied on information from the Yahoo! Digital Dads data, additional research and our blogger outreach experience to accurately position the program to address the unique concerns dads have when dealing with brands:
- Men can feel left out of brand advertising that historically focuses on moms
- They don’t want to miss their children’s fleeting youth like their own dads did
- Spending time with children is a top priority
- They don’t want to be considered a sub-segment of the mommy blogger, they have their own needs, language and requirements
- There is a growing need for “dad community”
In order to have a successful blogger engagement program for a restaurant, the value proposition needs to benefit the bloggers as much or potentially more so, than the brand.
Our research indicated that dads actively seek community. Our rationale for our approach was that dads appear to be struggling with their newly expanded parenting role and are looking for support, reassurance and camaraderie from other dads, but want information presented in a humorous tone.
The Outback Steakhouse restaurant marketing program was positioned to tap into the joint experience of dads everywhere.
We ask the influential dad bloggers to share the funniest dining moment they’ve experienced with their children in a blog post.
Since the dads know their audience best, we let the influencers organize the giveaway any way that made the most sense for them. They could give the dinner certificate away to posters on their blog, fans on Facebook or Twitter followers. Most preferred to give it away on their blog, but they cross posted extensively across a wide digital footprint. Additionally, Angelsmith distributed content and assets to a wide variety of social media outlets and helped them spread the word about the giveaway.
The redemption rate for the giveaway exceeded industry standards, with a total reach or more 2 million consumers and approximately 10 million impressions. The bloggers, their fans and followers generated 2,220 unique social media posts.