How does a nationally recognized brand form meaningful relationships with local audiences? That’s what our partners at 25 Sonic Drive-In locations across Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Florida tasked us with finding out. These restaurants are in small towns, where familiar faces and personal conversations are highly valued. For this Sonic group, success doesn’t just mean selling food and drinks; it also means building lasting relationships with the communities that support them. They enlisted our team to help create a strategic plan that would drive sales and engage current and potential customers.
What’s your usual Sonic order? Through research and communication with our client, we discovered how many customers there are whose trip to Sonic is just another part of their daily routine. These people swing by on their way to work every day or grab an afternoon pick-me-up during Happy Hour. They know the employees’ names by heart, and the employees know their orders just as well. With this knowledge in mind, we believed by featuring real employees from each of our 25 locations in promotional materials, we could connect with customers in a new way that would increase interaction and brand loyalty.
What are the essentials for a Sonic shoot? For us, it’s enthusiastic employees, a game plan and a few orders of mozzarella sticks. We capture our Sonic friends in their element to showcase the Sonic environment and customers. The content we create is featured on our social media pages, and we strategically decide when and how to advertise online. We knew when we chose social media as our main platform, reputation management would be imperative. With that in mind, we monitor customer feedback and work with the restaurants to resolve any issues as quickly as possible.
When in life have you received applause? For one of our Indianola, Mississippi, Sonic employees, it was when she walked into a cell phone store in her hometown. They recognized her from Facebook. This type of praise spread across our 25 Facebook pages as we continued implementing our content. We’ve received hundreds of comments like, “Congratulations,” “She’s my favorite” and “I love my Sonic,” just to name a few. Those Sonic customers who visit their Drive-In every day? Now they leave messages on our pages just as often and have turned into brand ambassadors. People know to visit our social pages for info on the most recent deals. We’ve successfully turned negative experiences at Sonic into positive reviews, simply by facilitating communication between customers and the Drive-Ins. As we continued to analyze our stores’ needs, we worked with the Sonic team to implement local promotions that have led to dramatically increased sales during historically weak days and times. A group of another eight Sonic locations in Illinois and Indiana has partnered with us, and we’ve adapted our strategy and content for their own customers’ needs. We’ve learned what does and doesn’t fly with our Sonic audiences, and we’ve stayed nimble in order to serve them best.