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How Denny’s connects with customers through social media, sports marketing and updated digital experiences

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How Denny’s connects with customers through social media, sports marketing and updated digital experiences


Restaurant chain Denny’s has taken the opportunity to feature student athletes in an effort to continue to make an impact with younger diners while keeping momentum in their robust sports marketing play.

As all eyes will soon turn to hoops in next month’s March Madness, Denny’s is partnering with Stanford junior forward Fran Belibi as part of its continued effort to showcase underrepresented athletes, as well as to celebrate the return of Denny’s Super Slam breakfast deal.

Denny’s began a Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) program featuring student athletes last fall, when it included football’s “often-forgotten” offensive linemen in the brand’s cross-collegiate All-Pancaker Team promotion.

‘Super Slam’ dunk to engage fans with NIL partnership 

Due to a change in NCAA guidelines and a number of state laws enacted in 2021, college student-athletes gained the right to receive payment from brands for the use of their name, image and likeness (NIL).

“Supporting student-athletes in the wake of NIL is not our first sports marketing rodeo, but we’re excited about this space,” said Denny’s Chief Brand Officer John Dillon. “For us, NIL deals are about more than just paying student-athletes. It’s about lifting up underrepresented student-athletes and giving them the platform they deserve.”

The NIL program gave the brand the opportunity to team up with Belibi, who is an NCAA Women’s basketball champ and also has the distinction of being one of only eight women ever to slam dunk in a college game – which makes a great tie-in with Denny’s Super Slam meal.

In addition to the NIL agreement with Belibi, Denny’s is also donating $25,000 to the Women’s Sports Foundation, an organization co-founded by tennis icon Billie Jean King.

Multi-channel strategy extends brand reach and exposure for athletes

“Fran is a model student-athlete who shares our values and has done a lot to generate excitement for women’s college basketball,” said Dillon.

Belibi dunked twice in games last season, and won the 2019 High School Slam Dunk competition. Some of her highlights have tens of thousands of views on YouTube. However, she will gain even more exposure through the Denny’s promotion.

Denny’s social leverage featuring Stanford hoops star Fran Belibi. Image: Denny’s.

The Super Slam campaign is running nationally on broadcast TV and radio, on Denny’s digital and social channels, as well as the athlete’s social media.

On the social side, Denny’s aims at connecting with younger Gen Z consumers, while maintaining their presence with Gen X and Boomers. Millennials are at the center of Denny’s strategy, according to Dillon.

Read more: 2022 Predictions: Customer Experience & Digital Experience

“Our social channels are designed to reflect the eclectic and offbeat conversations that people have with their friends and families in diners,” Dillon explained. “We’ve found our brand’s voice and role in feeding people’s souls to be very important, and when we say we love to feed people, we mean all people, regardless of their background.” 

Diversity, equity and inclusion in Denny’s marketing efforts

“In order to be America’s Diner of today, we need to speak to the diverse groups of people that make up this country in a way that feels both emotionally and culturally resonant,” said Dillon. “As such, we ensure our internal marketing team and agency partners understand the importance of speaking directly to diverse segments by making diversity, equity and inclusion a business priority at every level of the organization.”

He added, “At Denny’s, diversity, equity and inclusion are ingrained in every part of our business including our marketing team and partners, who have done a tremendous job telling our story to multicultural audiences.”

As part of their approach, Denny’s selects important causes to support through their brand voice, as well as with sponsorships. Denny’s served as a sponsor of the Orange Blossom Classic, a bowl game between Historically Black Colleges and Universities that was brought back in 2021.

Innovating customer experience

Denny’s has also boosted their CX in recent months. They launched a new logged-in experience for Denny’s Rewards members that allows users to save and edit account details and preferences.

Another new feature is a digital offer wallet, where customers can access rewards and coupons, all in one place. Experience and growth company Hathway helped launch the features, as well as loyalty and engagement platform punchh.

“The pandemic accelerated the shift to digital, and we just rolled out an all-new digital experience in September that included the relaunch of Dennys.com, Denny’s on Demand and Denny’s mobile app,” said Dillon. “This new seamless digital experience gives our guests more convenient ways to enjoy America’s Diner, and it’s just the first major step in our mission to redefine how the Modern American Family dines together.”

He added, “In 2022 we’re focused on building one-on-one relationships with our consumers to deliver a seamless and personalized guest experience, whether you are seated in one of our booths, stopping by for pick-up or ordering delivery.”


About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.



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How to Use UX Research to Help Your Company Grow: 3 Proven Tips

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How to Use UX Research to Help Your Company Grow: 3 Proven Tips

Who knows your target audience better than your team? Your clients themselves. Users with their demands, likings, and desires are mostly the voices that go unnoticed as companies seek to have a smooth user experience.

Having a good team’s commitment, enthusiasm, and hard work will not compensate for the gap in knowledge between what your customers need and what your team believes they will require.

User experience (UX) research overpasses this imbalance throughout the UX design process, making sure that your company ends up saving resources, expanding loyalty, and providing the best UX for each and every user. Discover more about UX research, its solid business importance, and what to test first.

How can organizations employ UX research?

User experience research focuses on ensuring that your customers have a pleasurable interaction while using your service or product. It is critical to consider UX research from the start of any project, as making changes later can be costly and time-consuming.

Here are some ideas for how businesses can perform UX research:

  • Ensure that you know who your intended audience is and what they require from your service or product.
  • Spend some time learning about the user journey — what actions do they take to accomplish a task? Where do they become perplexed or disappointed?
  • Data and feedback should be used to continuously enhance the user experience. Check your product or service with actual users on a regular basis and take note of their feedback.
  • Don’t start from the beginning. To get started, there are various off-the-shelf methods and digital options for UX research.
  • Ensure that your project has adequate resources.

Three useful practices in UX research

The UX research method plays an important role in your analysis. You need to consider the pros and cons of different techniques. For example, there are methods that are cheap and easy but can take a lot of time when it comes to analysis.  Another limitation is your available resources, which will dictate when, how much and what type of UX research you can do. We selected  a couple of methods for you that combine affordability and quality at the same time. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

Usability testing

The process of evaluating a product or service by checking it with actual users is referred to as usability testing. Throughout a test, respondents will typically attempt to finish basic tasks while observers witness, listen, and take down notes. The goal is to pinpoint any design flaws, gather qualitative and quantitative data, and assess the person involved in overall product satisfaction.

Usability testing allows both design and development teams to discover issues prior to them being programmed. The sooner problems are discovered and resolved, the less pricey the modifications will be in aspects of both staff time and potential schedule impact.

UX survey

Among the most widespread UX research methods for gathering both qualitative and quantitative feedback from your customers is the UX survey. It assists you in better comprehending customer habits and determining what appears to work and what does not, allowing you to prioritize adjustments to your product’s UX.

UX surveys provide a cost-effective way for a SaaS business offering long-term growth to gather customer feedback and make data-driven judgments. UX surveys can help you identify conflicting points in your product’s UX design and provide you with the information you need to improve the user experience.

Session Recording

Session recording is a descriptive research tool that records website visitor surfing sessions in real-time, allowing you to observe the recordings afterward to gain a deeper visitor behavior perspective. It allows marketers to comprehend a user’s entire route on their website, which includes clicks, scrolls, and mouse movements, among other things.

Session recording enables detailed evaluation and study of visitors’ browsing activity, the realization of experience breakage, and the identification of friction sectors, which then aids in the repair of what is damaged and the optimization of UX, resulting in higher conversion rates.

Session recording records your users’ actual life cycle on your webpage so you can find out which parts of it lure them the most, pushes them deeper into the sales funnel or causes them to fall out, diverts attention from a page’s primary CTA, resulting in low sales, and so on. Such information allows you to make confident, data-driven strategic decisions.

What are the consequences of skipping UX research?

Companies recognize the consequences of bad decisions: lost money, time, brand image, and occasionally even the entire organization.

Trying to skip user research will frequently result in poor corporate strategy based on anything other than factual customer feedback, such as:

  • Preoccupation with fashion and design trends. Designers are frequently enamored with the newest trends and believe that if they do not implement them, they really aren’t in tune with the times.
  • Emotional commitment. Creators and product owners frequently allow their own emotions to affect their capacity to recognize where enhancements could be made.
  • Personal views. Many executives generate decisions based on deeply held values and allow their egos to take precedence over acknowledging user needs.

In the end, it is clear that implementing UX design can benefit companies in a variety of ways. In addition to increasing customer satisfaction and conversions, it can also contribute to lowering support and product production costs.

Moreover, satisfied clients are more likely to participate in favorable word-for-word marketing, which can support attracting additional business. As a result, companies that invest in UX design can anticipate seeing remarkable long-term growth.

No time to underestimate UX

In this blog we have considered a simple but important part of UX research. There are many other methods of conducting this analysis, but you can start with the basics. There is no need to doubt the importance and usefulness of UX research, so we advise you to start implementing it today!

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