While some Connections Planners focus on the downstream alignment of message and media, we never lose sight of your core challenge: How do we create an experience that converts our audience into our customers?
We approach this first by leveraging belief and behavioral insights in the initial integrated brief. Incorporating beliefs and behavioral insights in the strategic process from the very beginning ensures that our approach is as inspiring and actionable for media and channel partners as it is for creative teams. The result: a truly cross-channel BIG IDEA that activates our audience.
During the strategy process, we welcome any behavioral data that partner media agencies can provide on consumers’ journeys, channel preferences or behaviors. Our Connections Planning team also taps into in-house audience, media planning and consumer journey research tools like Pathways, MRI and EP GutCheck to supplement this information as needed.
Denny’s is one of EP+Co’s most long-standing clients. Our positioning of “Welcome to America’s Diner” has driven positive sales growth for 8 straight years, demonstrating that the brand is credible as an inclusive and welcoming place that makes everyone feel like they belong. We continue to look for areas to push for growth and, in 2018, we uncovered an intriguing data point: 51% of Denny’s traffic visited the brand only one time per year. And, when we dug deeper, we found that 50% of these consumers don’t have an issue with the brand; they “just don’t think of Denny’s that much.”
EP+Co developed a new experience strategy designed to maintain our appeal with heavy users while reintroducing the light and lapsed users to Denny’s in a way that captured attention and inserted the brand into their consideration set.
New consumer insights provided a platform to share the positioning in a new light to our primary target: The Modern American Family. Research showed that the American family only gets 37 minutes per day of quality time together and 55% of American families said they are constantly looking for things they can do as a whole family. But, while 75% agree mealtime is best shared, 57% of dining occasions are spent alone. Our strategy was simple: reassert the importance of personal connection to remind people that nothing can bring us together like Denny’s.
From that integrated strategy, we developed Denny’s first-ever brand campaign, “See you at Denny’s,” to invite all audiences to Denny’s. The campaign introduces a light/lapsed user to a Denny’s they aren’t likely to know, with a renovated restaurant, new menu items and an inclusiveness that consumers crave. This is balanced with continued food and value messaging that motivates the heavy user to keep visiting the brand. Ultimately, the “See you at Denny’s” campaign successfully invited audiences back to the brand and reinforced our credibility as an inclusive and welcoming place that makes everyone feel like they belong.
Working hand in hand with our multicultural agency partners, we pressure tested the experience strategy by sourcing insights specific to both African American and Latinx audiences. Not only did this ensure that the overall approach would be as resonant with our multicultural audiences as it was to our core, it allowed us to flex our strategy to address the specific pain points of each audience, leading to more tailored, targeted creative.