Case Study

Taking a small, hip, down-home BBQ chain to the next level

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


Rapid Expansion

Building an Audience While Building a Brand

Baby Blues BBQ began as two guys on Venice Beach with a grill, and over 9 years it expanded organically to four locations.

Our goal was to further develop and define their brand, drive an increase in market share within their physical area, and authentically raise their profile in the social media universe.

Through online and offline marketing we reconnected the brand to existing customers and successfully introduced them to new audience segments.

Creating a Marketing Plan

A Process to Connect Customers to the Brand and Expedite Growth

Market Data Collection

We started with a brand audit.   Analyzing data on Facebook, Yelp, Twitter and Instagram told us a lot about existing customers’ brand awareness and gaps in perception. We created a two-pronged approach focusing on reconnecting with existing customers and recruiting potential customers.

We created a series of profiles based on their behaviors, and designed strategies to engage them. Business intelligence garnered from monitoring competitors gave us insight into campaign options and a better understanding of potential new customers.


Staff make great brand communicators so we trained them on articulating the brand differentiators as well as listening to gather feedback.   The staff conducted in-person surveys and filled out End Of Shift Forms to capture the relevant customer feedback. We scoured through online reviews to see what customers were saying about our client across the web.

Brand Development

Their brand suffered from too much of a good thing without a unified vision.     We had to clearly define the Baby Blues BBQ brand and edit out what it wasn’t so that customers, staff and bloggers were all using the same words across a variety of channels.

We connected with customers and staff to identify which brand elements were most memorable and what keeps customers coming back.   The language of BBQ lovers is full of references to their favorite joint or dive, amazing sauces and the great variety of cuts of meat that can be put on grills and in smokers.   We reflected this authentically in our positioning and built a Visual Identification System that unified the visual experience between restaurants and with the online experience.

Creating Brand Ambassadors

We crafted a strategy to connect new customers and regulars to opportunities to share their passion for the brand and BBQ.   We created new brand assets to support a series of small campaigns.   We leveraged these assets across multiple channels driven by fans and augmented them with user generated content.

Marketing & Advertising

Executing a Mix of Online and Offline Tactics

Once the brand development was complete and our marketing strategy was finalized, we developed our marketing mix and selected our tactics. The following are some of the tactics that were deployed during the engagement.

Digital Strategy

We crafted a strategy to activate the newly developed brand assets and the refined brand story into a series of small campaigns that could be utilized over multiple channels.

Our objective was to communicate these metaphors to current brand ambassadors, existing customers, and targeted new customers.

Social Media

We designed Facebook and Twitter pages to reflect the brand experience. Utilizing high quality “hero style” food photos and brand elements we were able to create an on brand platform to engage the audience.

A post by Jill Wagner led to approximately 55 responses for example, allowing us to reach over 100,000 new people and earned Baby Blues BBQ several new followers.

Content is King

We learned from our customers that they required a variety of content to keep them engaged.   It couldn’t be a continuous call to action to come in and eat. They wanted a place where they could stay connected with the Baby Blues BBQ vibe and community 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 – we have been able to continuously bring meaningful content to our fans.


Active Audience

With all the content we were generating socially and sharing within the restaurant, fans began communicating with Baby Blues BBQ much more frequently and started generating their own content in a big way. This post by Kevin Love reached over 800,000 new people and earned Baby Blues BBQ over 100 new followers in the first hour.


Baby Blues BBQ Food Truck

Increasing brand awareness

Leveraging the Reputation

To increase brand awareness and capitalize on the Food Truck Phenomenon Nationwide, we launched the Baby Blues BBQ Food Truck.

By leveraging the brand’s reputation and “celebrity status,” we were invited to music festivals, large caterings, and even fed the masses that arrived in Philadelphia for the Pope’s first visit to the states in 35 years.

Major Events (60k + Attendees)

 2017 NFL Draft
 Made in America (2015 & 2016)
 World Meeting of the Families
 Rock of Allegiance (2015 + 2016)

Baby Blues food truck


A Mouth Watering Online Presence

The website tied the 4 locations together in a more cohesive way, utilized online ordering, and delivered a message of authenticity and quality BBQ.

Baby Blues BBQ’s website was dated and wasn’t taking advantage of the increase in mobile users.  We designed, built, and launched a new website, that leveraged video and rich imagery to get page viewers’ mouth’s watering.

Outreach & Partner Promotions

Creating buzz through strategic partnerships

Outreach to Food Bloggers

We targeted local food bloggers and “Foodie” communities to create buzz in support of signature dishes we were known for as well as brand awareness.


We designed strategies to support the launch of a new Happy Hour menu, new menu items, and a Lunch Specials menu.

Solid Returns

This focused approach to the utilization of specific channels has shown a tremendous return on our efforts.


Partner Promotions and Events

We recognized that some of the best opportunities to market Baby Blues BBQ in the community were through promotions and special events focused on similar lifestyle brand partners.

Cross Promotions

We launched a series of cross-promotional events with high profile beverage brands – pairing BBQ dishes with different spirits – to expose new customers to Baby Blues BBQ restaurant experience at no cost to our client.

Preferred Caterer

We arranged in-kind catering sponsorships for highly visibility events generating great press and massive exposure. All with the additional bonus of Baby Blues BBQ becoming the preferred caterer for a premier LA event space, the John Lautner designed Sheats Goldstein house.

Baby Blues events


With all the content we were generating socially and sharing within the restaurant, fans began communicating with Baby Blues BBQ much more frequently and started generating their own content in a big way.


Consistent YOY increase in revenue across all locations 


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


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


increase of brand’s online audience

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