Why brand experience matters for QSRs

There’s been a lot of recent press about quick service restaurants (QSRs) and the advancements in technology that are attributed to well performing loyalty programs. As we learned through an online study of 400 millennials conducted by Epsilon, QSR customers crave convenience. The ability to pre-order is the primary driver of increased visits in addition to the speed in which the food is prepared and available. Mobile ordering continues to gain traction along with the desire to be rewarded for patronage and loyalty.

But to truly engender loyalty in the always-aware environment, QSR marketers need to pause and think about what their brand means to their customers. It goes beyond providing convenience and a reasonably priced meal. QSR brands and their establishments offer an environment in which memories are shared, business obligations are fulfilled and opportunities to create deeper emotional connections with consumers are created.

These experiential aspects of a brand will help make emotional and relevant connections with customers. Take Dunkin’ Donuts for example. Dunkin’ cultivates connections. Some customers create father/son memories while getting donuts after church, while others leverage Dunkin’ establishments as a friendly place to ‘do business over coffee.’ Some Dunkin’ Donuts have even built glass enclosed ‘meeting rooms’ to provide a quiet environment for business professionals to meet, and offer a change of pace from home offices.’ It’s about understanding the needs of your customers and fulfilling on these needs. It’s also about understanding how to connect with them on an emotional level.

To connect emotionally your brand needs to tell a story. And the story needs to be relevant to your customers. For example, look at some of the marketing tactics Dominos has leveraged to engage their millennial target audience. Dominos’ ‘order with a text, a pizza emoji’ reflects the creative and fun aspect of the Dominos brand. By speaking the customer’s language, Dominio’s is not only connecting with their most loyal customers but they’re creating convenience and making it easier for customers to interact with their brand.

Captivated and engaged customers provide an opportunity to acquire new loyalty program members. Consumers spend 46% more with restaurants who have loyalty programs and mobile is an effective channel for increasing your members. 73% of consumers are more likely to join loyalty programs if points and rewards are automatically updated and visible on mobile loyalty cards.

So marketers need to think about their brand experience and the key elements that create this relevant, unique experience. Understanding how technology enables the experience is essential. Tabletop tablets are on the rise not just because of their potential to increase sales, they’ve resulted in an increased number of loyalty membership sign-ups and a higher percentage of completed satisfaction surveys. Additionally, 8 in 10 consumers agree that restaurant technology enhances convenience.

Incorporating technology into the brand experience helps to make connections with consumers. Growing an emotional connection with customers is driving 30-100% gains in customer value, and is the key input to accelerating revenue profitability. So, as a loyalty marketer, think about your platform and services in tandem. It’s the services, bundled with the sleek and innovative technology that will allow for you to rise above the competition.