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Building the Buffalo Wings and Rings Brand Integrated Marketing Communication Plan Prepared by: Stuart Lenig

Building the Buffalo Wings and Rings Brand

Building the Buffalo Wings and Rings Brand Integrated Marketing Communication Plan Prepared by: Stuart Lenig Tiffni

Integrated Marketing Communication Plan

Prepared by:

Stuart Lenig

Tiffni McNeese

Amanda Morris

Dalila Thomas

Table of Contents Executive Summary……………………………………………………… 2 Company

Table of Contents







SWOT Analysis


Target Market/Consumer Behavior Analysis


Competitor Product Analysis


Marketing Objectives


Communications Plan Timeline


Marketing Budget


Marketing Strategies




Evaluation of Performance………………….…………




Executive Summary

The Buffalo Wings and Rings location (hereafter referred to as BWR for the corporate entity and BWRH for the franchise entity in Hopkinsville, Kentucky) is typical of many franchise operations. Moderate business generated by name, reputation of the product. However, the brand is not universally established like McDonald’s or Pizza Hut and does not have the brand identity of larger chains. Naturally, this leaves the franchise in a vulnerable position needing to increase brand recognition, generate business already attracted by competing chains and building brand loyalty. Naturally resources restrain the franchise’s competitiveness, and the local affiliate must make careful use of media buys and must economize when creating media campaigns. The franchise has benefited from the use of low cost or free publicity such as press releases featuring groundbreakings or special events, social media sites and a website that discusses the BWRH menu and other up coming promotions. Clow and Baack discussed the importance of social media to current consumers saying that, “47 percent go to a social network site to download coupons or to search for information about a product.” (254) The fact that the web is beginning to dominate marketing and advertising efforts should be a factor in current strategies.


Company Background

Buffalo Wings and Rings was initiated in 1984. The first restaurant debuted in 1988 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The chain moved from Midwestern roots to establish a presence with franchises in 14 states with 44 locations. The restaurants are heavily concentrated in the Midwestern region with locations in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. There are also locations in California, Texas, and North Carolina, and Florida suggesting the company is seeking to extend its reach nationally and embrace all coasts. The company wishes to be a family restaurant destination for casual dining for people to “catch-up and connect.” The emphasis is on spicy chicken wings, sandwiches, and salad. A press release describes their mission to be related to having a “fun, family atmosphere.” To this end, the corporate image stresses a family restaurant. Alcohol is not featured in the online menus although the use of televisions and sports suggests a menu is libations is available. In fact, Margarita pitchers are a promotional item as part of current restaurant initiatives, alhough BWRH observes that market their emphasis is on a family business. Franchising info articulates that “The inside of our restaurants are designed to be fun and engaging. We provide a family friendly place to come for great food, to watch the game or to catch up with friends.”


SWOT Analysis

The strategic planning tool of the SWOT analysis explores the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats to a corporate entity.

Strengths BWR has a strong element of simplicity, commonality, and genialness. Its brand reaches a broad and sweeping demographic, and the negatives expressed by its brand identity are few. It’s values include fun, sports, relaxation, and family values and its encompassing values reach a wide cross section of probable consumers.

Weaknesses A weakness is that brand identity is easily overwhelmed. There are countless wing restaurants and chains that have sprung up in recent years. Distinguishing the corporation from the pack at this juncture is difficult. Further, sports themed restaurants seem exceedingly common and it might be more difficult to market another that is similar to other establishments. Further brand identity is neither very distinct or very well known. Also corporate seems to have a loose grasp of the franchises. This is not to say that it is a danger but it could be one, if the franchises do not have uniform levels of service, efficiency and value.

Opportunities Opportunities may be available by either spreading out and making the name brand better known or by growing stronger through current locations. The fragile economy also makes consumers wary of costly expenditures, and the efforts to entice the consumer through online promotions and advertising are likely winning strategies for this economic cycle.



Threats are the various wing restaurants already entrenched throughout the nation. These establishments provide roadblocks to the establishment to competitors. More broadly based competitors could make new expansions risky or unsuccessful.


Target Market/Consumer Behavior Analysis

BWR attracts the family crowd through the colorful interiors and large screen displays that feature action sports while people are dining.


Wings and sandwiches are attractive products to the entire family but mostly targeted to male consumers who consume larger quantities of beef.

Salads and wraps featuring lower calorie faire are favorites amongst female audiences concerned with figures and healthful nutrition for families.

Children’s meals including mac and cheese, corn dogs and grilled cheese items. Not as healthy as the women’s menu, it provides value for family groups.

Catering can be a valuable commodity for churches and other social groups that require a dining area and a simple menu.


Competitor Product Analysis

A large competitor of BWR is Buffalo Wild Wings. Their menu, sense of fun/sports excitement, and even restaurant design is very similar. The only difference is that Buffalo Wild Wings features beer prominently in the menu and website suggesting more adult, and perhaps less family friendly surroundings. This sounds like a smokier, rougher and unhealthier crowd. However, the minimization of the family element may attract a more strongly male and or singles crowd which might attract a slightly different demograohic group. It was judicious for BWRH to not alienate any potential audience already captivated by a competitor.


Marketing Objectives

Over a one-year and three year period, the corporation can make adjustments to marketing to increase brand recognition, customer buyer behavior, and consumer promotions. The first year goal would be to make a more dynamic web presence for the Hopkinsville franchise. Efforts would include:

(1) Using more media and video to make the Facebook presence more elaborate and attractive. (2) More attention to the presence would include constant and continual promotions in the Facebook presence to encourage return traffic and to keep customer traffic constant. (3) Create a regular webpage presence to offer a more controlled and systematic release of information than is available by the externally controlled Facebook presence. The three year goals are more substantive. During the three-year plan, monies should be spent to produce more logo items for children and adults that promote the name and brand more effectively. The logo is attractive, but not widely disseminated. (1) Logo items would include puzzles, coloring books, napkins, carry out containers simply to keep the brand before the consumer’s eye. (2) Promotions targeting different groups and demographics should be displayed weekly in the Facebook and web presence. Promotions should be tied to community or national events. (Women’s month, black history month, Relay for life, Earth Day, special civic holidays) Coupons or discount codes should produce repeat visits to the web presence and increase the web presence as a destination point. (3) The web presence should strongly focus on content (games for kids), nutrition tips for moms, sports facts for guys to maintain a connection to core audiences. The demographics should be loosely defined and as broad as possible. The idea is to maintain as much traffic flow to the site as possible to encourage repeat visits. Every time a customer hits the site, they should receive a premium, a coupon, a


reduced rate, a discount code, something that encourages return visits both to the franchise and to the site. In this sense the Facebook presence could steer traffic to the website.


Communications Plan Timeline

June-Dec. 2011: Innovate and revise franchise web presence.

Nov-Dec. 2011: Start weekly promotions (coupons) via Facebook presence

January 2012: Debut revised content-enriched website. Maintain linkage to Facebook presence to draw traffic to the website. Do not offer discounts through Facebook but entice visitors to visit the website for premiums. Make the link simple and obvious.

January 2012: Roll out logo items for children around the holidays.

June 2012: Roll out logo items for catering and takeout carryout foods

December 2012: Promotions should be rolled out on a monthly basis.

December 2012-Dec. 2013: Tabulate the data on most effective promotions and focus on the ones with the most response during the final year of the initiative.

January 2014-Dec. 2014: Continue with most successful promotions online through the website. Continue using logo items to build brand identity. Continue development of creative content to draw consumers to the franchise website.


Marketing Budget

$10,000 annual budget for 3 consecutive years or $30,000 Web master to create content and update the website Logo items for carryout/childrens’ coloring books Marketing person to position logo items at community events Publicize the brand at town meetings and civic events


$5,000 per annum $3,000 per annum $2,000 per annum

$30,000 TOTAL

Marketing Strategies

BWR finds itself in a position that should be motivated by differentiation and

innovation. The difficulty in determining where to allocate resources to produce a proper brand image is complicated by a fragmented market place. Many still read newspapers, but that is moving to an online industry. Newspaper ads and television ads involve high cost and a possible miss of potential markets. Additionally, in a market saturated with similar themed and branded restaurants, BWR is tasked with strategically building a brand that can distinguish itself as a equally reputable and recognizable while still holding true to company values. The new age of technology and advertising calls for companies become more innovative and strategic in stretching their marketing dollars to

a consumer base that is ultimately online-based. By launching highly targeted promotions in the form of viral campaigns, marketing engages employees and consumers alike to

save money and harness an increased interest and revenue for their respective brands. As

a result, this plan suggests that BWR should approach is media campaign creatively—by infusing their traditional and innovative media with more modern technology. Proposed Media Strategies

creatively—by infusing their traditional and innovative media with more modern technology. Proposed Media Strategies 12


Strategy Summary BWRH has affirmed itself as a morality-based, family oriented organization and might therefore profit from tie-ins to social media that will attract a great number of their consumer as well as broaden this reach to draw in, or link, with civic and religious groups. A Facebook and Twitter presence integrated with a strengthened website presence might be the best low cost manner of stimulating business. For example, promotions and specials tied to holiday seasons, (Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, July 4, Presidents Day, Labor Day, etc.) would provide a convenient tie in to specific game and sports specials. Promoting these events via social media that can ultimately direct and draw people to the BWRH website creates a cyclical effect that will not only engage potential customers in the promotional process but attract consumers to check back regularly. Advertising buys could be linked to key sporting events in the seasons. Basketball, baseball, and football playoffs, if not the more costly bowl and final games, are likely to be key and prime target times. Further, emerging sports such as Nascar and Soccer can broaden the “family friendly” perception of the restaurant and will target an often less recognized and underestimated audience populations. Accentuating women’s sports, emerging sports, and world sports, and the franchise appeals to a broader more diverse demographic as opposed to limiting the sports programming and the messages to merely traditional American sports. This can include your typical “soccer mom” toting a recreational league soccer team for an after game celebration to new audiences such as South American immigrants who are family-friendly and anxious to involve themselves in American sports culture. The key is to diversify the world of sports, define family in the broadest way possible, yet focus it through brand’s mission and environment. Implementing this diverse approach to sports in general beyond the traditional will contribute greatly to the communications plan of differentiating the BWR brand creatively and innovatively. The free-market is growing. As consumers choose to exercise their buying power through personal research, web-based methods, and designer niche media; designing a strategy that works for corporations becomes intensely problematic. Problematic in the


sense that this web-based promotions are a new realm for many, yet an important one to tackle in order to stay ahead and relevant in the advertising and marketing race. Attractive and relatively low cost websites can work in conjunction with social media sites, local businesses, churches, and civic groups to drive consumers to the corporation. In essence this form of marketing is direct and can be targeted through emails, social media and private websites that broadens the reach beyond traditional media to prove in some cases more effective. At the same time, servers, database management, and webmasters can introduce new costs. Certainly, a key way to control costs is to rent space in an established cloud network, and carefully track traffic flow. However this too will cost in terms of time and energy management, as well as are not likely to offer the professional, extensive, or expansive reach that some other efforts can make. The cost of investing in some administrative marketing needs is likely to be offset by the mass availability of free options that will not eat up these costs and can be reassigned as needed to cover other administrative needs. Combined with web sources, free sources such as press releases, community events, seasonal and holiday promotions, are low cost ways to attract business. This is seen specifically in various world events reflected in our culture, such as September 1tth or health observances, where customers become donors to a cause while still buying into products. Some corporations offer a percentage of each sale as a donation to induce more people to give to a cause. Not only are these efforts respectable, but also will reaffirm and back the brand through association with other causes and brands. For BWRH very targeted promotions and public outreach efforts can be targeted through special events and public relations. A more prevalent and relevant option might include a 5k run or marathon. This correlates to the restaurant’s sports identity with the brand, and would draw favorable media attention at low promotional cost. An eating contest, though less healthful in an increasingly health conscious time, might also be a possible audience and community builder among the target market. To The contest could be repositioned to create prizes for patrons who ate regularly at the restaurant and were the most improved in their dietary habits. Less flashy than the traditional eat a large quantity of chicken wings, but easily a better campaign for today’s market.


Collaboratively, each of these strategies will infuse and build upon each other to create a well rounded and comprehensive media campaign in the short-term and long- term. They also offer a new age media approach, focus on low costs expenses, and fairly easy management that will allow the business to focus on it’s most important mission, as well as a critical factor in a successful media strategy, the customers.


Marketing Tactics

Emphasizing an Online Media Presence

The Internet opens up the doors of BWRH to the surrounding community and

beyond. These technologies can help to make a virtual community that keeps the BWRH

business at the top of mind for an already established fan and customer base and lets

BWRH fans help the business engage new prospective customers. Creating this online

community has the capabilities of driving foot traffic to stores. As a free source of

publicity, social media options should serve as a primary communication and promotion

vehicle to drive the BWRH message and attract customers.


Corporate website: Location page:

BWRH will utilize the corporate website as the one-stop source for information

on products, location, and potentially order. On the specific Hopkinsville location,

BWRH should look into including links to social media sites that will direct local

customers to more target and area specific promotions that may be going on in the

Hopkinsville, KY area. Also, in the future, BWRH should consider implementing online

ordering as an option.


Facebook profile:


BWRH already has an established Facebook presence with approximately 840

followers to date. However, the frequency of posts and interactions is minimal and

does not generate the online buzz that is likely to generate traffic to the website,

word-of-mouth marketing, or build the relationship with customers that will

ultimately generate all of the above.


Post "daily updates (2-4 daily) re: specials of the day and information about special events, promotions, or in store happenings. Provide exclusive online coupons and promotions promoted through Facebook to followers.

Do not have all Facebook status updates be entirely about advertising and promotion. Social networking is a means to create a community and build personal relationships with a loyal base. Interact with customers by providing real-life stories of events that have happened and commenting on posts made by customers on page.

Solicit information from Facebook via polls, comment monitoring, and analytics to garner valuable information that can be telling of marketing effectiveness. This information can be used to appropriately adjust marketing efforts as needed.


BWRH does not have an established Twitter account. As one of the newest and

growing tools in online media presence, it is important that BWRH establish this presence as well in order to remain relevant and innovative. Once established, BWRH can:

Build online community and reinforce both Facebook and website messages and as a quick media blast tool.

Send updates through the week describing If your finished product is linkable, include a link to the website, song, photo, etc. that you just created. However,

The key to a successful online presence is to ensure that the message is consistent across all mediums. All accounts should be linked and direct customers to one another.

Public Relations and Outreach

Press Releases In addition to social media as a strong public outreach tool, BWRH will strive to establish lasting and meaningful relationships in the surrounding are as well. This can be accomplished by keeping media outlets informed of particularly large scale or special events and sponsorships events. See example.


Special Event To increase brand awareness of the BWRH location in the Hopkinsville area, BWRH will become a local corporate sponsor of the Jennie Stuart 5-K Run & Little River Days, a race generally held mid-late May annually in Hopkinsville, KY. As a sports related event, this half marathon promotes itself as a “family friendly event” and is well aligned both in purpose and in concept with the BWRH mission and target audience. The race itself attracts runners and walkers of all ages for the purpose of raising and donating proceeds to purchase athletic training supplies for local area high schools. Sponsorship of a marathon will provide product exposure to the target demographic with the additional option to promote such as the brand through logo through marathon advertising and promotional materials.

The rationale for sponsoring the Jennie Stuart 5-K Run & Little River Days race is:

Participation by BWRH in an event specifically targeting the same campaign audience will allow the company to generate positive publicity and brand placement.

The marathon will provide a public venue to highlight the local business presence in the community and encourage the similar “Family friendly” environment. In addition, by becoming a local sponsor of the race, BWRH, will receive additional publicity attached to the event and supplemental media coverage. As part of a post- event celebration, BWRH can offer a special promotion for race participants in store that should be publicized prior to, during, and immediately following the race to encourage participants to become regular patrons.

Event Date: Saturday, mid-late May annually. Race begins 8 a.m., ends by 12:30 p.m.

Location: Start and finish at the intersection of 7th and Bethel Streets, near Founder's Square in downtown Hopkinsville.


Invitation: Media will be in attendance for the Half Marathon and 5K, and will be informed through a press release of the BWRH participation, special promotion announcement.

Parking: Race day parking will be available in the Justice Center lot located between 7th and 9th Streets and visible from the start line.

[See example of press release on next page]




Sales and Promotion

BWRH already has a pretty extensive promotional offering menu that is available to customers. BWRH will continue these weekday specials as an effort to draw in customers and build patron loyalty. The goals of sales and promotions will be to effectively make customers aware of the following promotions:

Kids Eat Free Mondays

.40 cents Wing Tuesdays

.99 cents Tenders Wednesdays

Karaoke Thursdays /$6 Margarita Pitchers/ Thirsty Thursdays

On A Wing & A Prayer Sunday's (10% of meals)

This can be accomplished in-store by prominently advertising weekly specials at tables. As BWRH works to more prominently place its name and brand, these type of promotions can be implemented in efforts to effectively disseminate the name and brand through the proposed objectives of implementing puzzles, coloring books, napkins, carry- out containers. As customers leave in-store with these materials, they are taking with them a constant reminder of their time and meal at BWRH, and are likely to return in the future.

Attending to local area needs through the business services will also bring

significant attention to the BWRH location. Integrating kickback programs that will

generate business for BWRH as well as benefit local area schools, developmental football

leagues, and high school baseball leagues plays into the family-oriented concept behind

the brand. Several private schools that do not have cafeterias and often order out to

local area businesses to provide food in the absence of this service. These institution

usually place large orders that can generate a regular source of revenue for the business.

By getting involved in such programs , BWRH can offer a group discount for larger orders

and as it currently stands offers a 10% kickback of these funds to the school or worthy


cause a worthy cause. This promotion can greatly contribute to building brand awareness

and directing traffic to in-store. It also aligns with the corporate mission of the business.

BWRH can also expand this service to include more corporate partnerships, such as the

one shared with local business, Patriot Chevrolet. One day out of the week, BWRH caters

lunch for this business, which also serves a frequent and regular source of revenue.

Simply by providing this service, which ultimately does not require a larger, upfront

expenditure of money, is a great way to integrate the brand within the community.

Mass Media Advertising Although some form of traditional media will be necessary, it is not the primary function of this plan due to the high costs and the sometimes limited reach of this medium. As a result, mass advertising via, radio and TV has been limited initially to direct funds and focus on more interactive and grassroots efforts. Audiences today are aware of the relationship between all media and marketing. Malmelin writes that “virtually everything that reaches the consumer is aimed at promoting something.” (136) So radio spots, direct marketing, and web resources today may be equally well-received. BWRH should continue to purchase a limited amount of radio advertisement space on local radio stations, specifically those that are sports-centric or family-oriented, during peak times. Week long ads prior to prime sporting events such as championship games, Olympics or other high attention capturing sporting events are prime times to utilize such efforts as customers that are on the go are likely to listen to radio as a means to keep up with scores or otherwise. This effort is already implemented and should be continued. In the future, BWRH can look into expanding this area as revenue increases to allow for such.


Evaluation of Performance

Use of media to advertise and build an efficient integrated marketing

communication plan is tricky. Growth in business can be prompted by length of time in a

location, growth of desired demographics, a normal rise in population and the economy.

Many other factors can impact the growth of sales, therefore measuring the success of

marketing tools requires sophisticated measures.

Prior to the implementation of the one-year and three-year marketing plans,

seasonal traffic flow and purchasing behaviors must be charted on a month-to-month

basis to determine if traffic flow and buying behaviors are impacted by the marketing

initiatives. If flow and buying behaviors change we can assume some success in the

strategies of:


increased web presence


enhanced logo items


(3) continual online promotions


(4) increased web content.

If these initiatives seem rather small and partial it is simply a reflection of the economic

realities of a small franchise location, and the realities of revenue flow. Businesses have

found print ads to be declining in popularity and lately new ads called “push-down ad:

intro ads that viewers click through to get to a homepage.” (36) have grown as a

prominent alternative to print display ads. For a business to remain in profit, large sums

of necessary capital cannot be invested in costly media buys when such buys could

produce marginal results. The strategy here is to:


(1) Build carefully using tools that already connect to patrons lifestyles: internet, web

searches, online coupons. Facebook and social networking sites enhance and provide

valuable web content data.

(2) Combine efforts to promote logo items that seek to build patron familiarity with the

product and increase interest in the product line, and increase traffic flow at the


These initial steps seem appropriate at this franchise’s stage of development. If brand

recognition, and larger traffic flow merits expansion of more extensive media buys in

the future, than that would be a topic for a future program. However, at present, large

and expensive media buys either in print or in video/television/cable would seem

counterproductive and risky with limited capital.



Clow, K. E. and Baack, D. (2009). Integrated Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing

Communications. (4 th Ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Malmelin, N. “What is Advertising Literacy? Exploring the Dimensions of Advertising

Literacy.” Journal of Visual Literacy. 2010, 29:2, 129-42.

Schulte, B. “Looking Up.” American Journalism Review. Summer, 2010.