Case Study

Fancy Digital Marketing Meets Down-home BBQ

Activation Marketing, Food & Beverage,  Hospitality, Social Marketing, Startups & Strategy

baby_blues_logo_white_01

Background

Restarting A Brand

Baby Blues BBQ started as two guys with a grill on Venice Beach in Los Angeles, California. The company multiplied into two restaurants (with locations in Philadelphia and San Francisco, too) in only nine years.

They wanted an L.A.-area full-service marketing company, with digital marketing experience in dining and hospitality, that related to that vibe of small, hip, down-home BBQ. Our goal was to redefine and develop their brand, increase market share, and raise their profile in the social media and on the web.

Our digital agency’s unique blend of marketing and branding, custom training solutions, and film and video production was suited to deploy a multi-discipline campaign for more customers and faster growth.

Draw Up A Recipe

A Marketing Plan To Reach, Revive, Retain
board, business, analysis, Baby Blues BBQ, digital marketing agency Upper Diamond, social media branding advertising campaign

Brand Audit And Marketing Data

We started with a brand audit. Who’s eating in the restaurants? Who’s sharing on social media? How frequently? What are they sharing?

Analyzing data on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Yelp gave us insight into what customers thought about the brand — and what they might be missing. The data also showed us that social media advertising, like this digital marketing campaign, would be a core component of the company’s digital marketing mix.

bbq menu, bottle, distressed, Baby Blues BBQ, digital marketing agency Upper Diamond, social media branding advertising

Our marketing strategy focused on three related goals: reactivation of former customers and activation of new customers. And we needed to refine Baby Blues BBQ’s branding to retain all of them.

We created digital profiles of ideal customers based on marketing data. Monitoring competitors yielded an understanding of potential diners and opportunities to increase Baby Blues BBQ’s market share.

Developing A New Brand

The company’s branding and advertising suffered from too much of a good thing without a unified brand message. The new branding needed to reinforce what customers loved about dining (and takeout!) at Baby Blues BBQ and introduce new diners to amazing food.

Marketing challenges are internal, too. We wanted to make sure customers, staff, and bloggers were all using the same words across marketing channels and customer relations.
BBQ lovers are passionate — and vocal — about their favorite BBQ joint and the great variety of meats that can be cooked on grills and in smokers.

For the company’s marketing, advertising, social media, and web presence, we reflected that emotion in our positioning, as well as in our copywriting and design.

We built a Visual Identification System that brought together customers’ experiences between restaurants, on the web, and in social media.

Because corporate training and other types of business education are core competencies of our digital agency. So we enlisted Baby Blues BBQ staff as part of an IRL full-service marketing push.

We trained everyone working in the restaurants to communicate the new branding and listen to customer feedback for actionable insights. Waitstaff conducted in-person surveys with customers and filled out End Of Shift forms to record what they learned for future marketing and advertising initiatives.

Staff As Brand Ambassadors

We also crafted a strategy for restaurant regulars to share their enthusiasm for BBQ — and the brand’s delicious take on it — in our social media marketing. We created new brand assets for fans to use in smaller campaigns across multiple channels. Fans provided their own user-generated content, too, which we promoted across all our digital marketing.

Heat Up The Grill

Marketing Online And IRL

Once we had our branding strategy, we planned our tactics to deploy during the engagement.

Digital Strategy

We crafted a digital marketing plan to activate the new branding. We used a series of small campaigns over multiple social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and others) that were shared in customers’ digital networks.

Social Media Marketing

Our social media marketing plan was key in activating the new brand assets. Redesigned Facebook and Twitter pages delivered the brand experience with impact.

Using delicious, “hero” food photos, we created an on-brand platform to engage the audience.

A social media post from Jill Wagner, for example, garnered nearly 60 responses. We reached 100,000 new users on Twitter and Facebook and drove more Baby Blues BBQ followers.

Digital Content

Customers enjoy a variety of content to keep them engaged with a brand. Our approach couldn’t be only advertising call-to-actions to visit the restaurants and eat.

We designed a digital space where BBQ fans could savor the Baby Blues BBQ vibe even if they weren’t dining with us that day.

By leveraging the staff, the food, the audience interaction, and some of Baby Blues BBQ’s Famous Friends, our digital marketing delivered meaningful content to our fans.

LeAnn Rimes Cibrian, Jill Wagner, Facebook, Twitter, Baby Blues BBQ, digital marketing agency Upper Diamond, social media

Audiences Say YES to BBQ

With all our social media marketing content and in-restaurant sharing of brand assets, fans started to communicate with Baby Blues BBQ much more frequently. Plus they generated their own content in a big way. This social media post by Kevin Love reached over 800,000 new people and earned Baby Blues BBQ over 100 new Twitter followers in just the first hour.

Kevin Love, social media, Twitter, Baby Blues BBQ, digital marketing agency Upper Diamond, branding advertising campaign

Take Everything To Go

Baby Blues BBQ Food Truck

Building A Brand One Mouthful, One Mile At A Time

One of the best things about our full-service push for the restaurants was developing a marketing channel that became a revenue stream, too: the Baby Blues BBQ Food Truck.

Food trucks popping up in cities nationwide is a massive phenomenon. A food truck gathering offers a variety of menus, simple and portable dishes, and a “party” feel from so many other people in the street. For stationary restaurants like ours, food trucks are a marketing event!

The Baby Blues BBQ Food Truck — with its easy-to-understand menu of juicy meats, scrumptious sauces, and great breads and sides — transformed into pure experience marketing. Customers could smell and taste the BBQ. They snapped photos and video for instant social media sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more.

We were so successful — and the brand so popular with BBQ fans and food truck enthusiasts — we were invited to many more marketing events. We sold BBQ at music festivals. We began to do more large caterings. We even fed huge Philadelphia audiences for the Pope’s first visit to the U.S. in 35 years!

food truck, Baby Blues BBQ, digital marketing agency Upper Diamond, social media branding advertising campaign

It’s Not Just The Meat, It’s The Sauce

A Mouth-Watering Website

What social media marketing and advertising Baby Blues BBQ had done before wasn’t paying off. It wasn’t driving new customers. Our insights indicated that was because their website was dated. Nor was it designed for a mobile experience.

Because all digital marketing channels must lead to a great website, we built a new site with luscious images and video that tied all four Baby Blues BBQ locations. New customers saw they were eating with an authentic national brand. The ability to order online reduced wait times and drove more business.

Get The Combo And We’ll Share

Strategic Partnerships
bbq_icon

Food Bloggers And Social Media Influencers

We targeted local food bloggers and “foodie” communities as part of our influencer marketing strategy. We promoted customer favorites to build the brand.

New Offerings

We launched a happy hour menu that drew more diners and presented new menu items to sample — and a lunch menu if you couldn’t wait till happy hour.

Delicious Returns

Our full-service marketing push delivered a solid, unified effort across Baby Blues BBQ’s social media marketing and advertising, in-restaurant advertising, event branding with the food truck, and effective web marketing (website, social media, email) — and delivered outstanding results.

restaurant, reviews, Baby Blues BBQ, digital marketing agency Upper Diamond, social media branding advertising campaign
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Partner Promotions and Events

We recognized that some of the best opportunities for marketing Baby Blues BBQ in the community were through promotions and special events with similar lifestyle brand partners.

Cross-Promotions

We partnered with high-profile liquor brands for a series of cross-promotion events to pair their spirits with different Baby Blues BBQ menu items. Special event marketing drew new foodies to the brand and distinguished the upscale bar experience from down-home table dining.

More Catering For Volume Business

We provided in-kind catering sponsorships for high-visibility events generating great press and massive exposure. Spectacular food and amazing service made Baby Blues BBQ the preferred caterer for a premier LA event space, Sheats-Goldstein house designed by John Lautner.

catering, promotion, events, Baby Blues BBQ, digital marketing agency Upper Diamond, social media branding advertising

RESULTS

With all the digital content we were generating on social media and sharing within the restaurant, fans began visiting Baby Blues BBQ’s social media pages and website much more frequently. They shared their experiences and became advocates of the brand.

$$

Consistent YOY increase in revenue across all locations 

800,000

new people reached and 100 new followers in the first hour after a posting by Kevin Love

100,000

new people reached and 55 responses after one post by Jill Wagner

+275%

increase of brand’s online audience

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