Small Brand Leaps At Big Idea For Big PR Win

Talk about jumping at an opportunity! During the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Las Vegas Golden Knights were playing the Washington Capitals so in Vegas, people were told that nobody should be using capital letters during that time.

Since Capriotti's Sandwich shop has c-a-p in its name, it raced to rebrand itself as Knightriotti's in print ads over the weekend and on social media. "It was a huge PR win for us, Jane McPherson, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Capriotti's Sandwich Shop, Inc. (second from right), told MediaPost's Brand Inside Summit in February. "We had to drop everything we were doing for the weekend. You have to take a chance as fast as you can when an opportunity arises that puts you at the center of the community."

McPherson was on a panel discussing "Brand Building Against QSR Clutter" along with (from left) moderator Sarah Hoffman, Director of Connections, T3; Alison Hiatt, CMO, Salt and Straw; and Aarti Mehta, Director of Marketing, The Melt Shop. (MediaPost's Steve Smith noted at the end of this panel discussion that the days seem to be gone when he had to struggle to get a woman on our panels. Of the 16 brand reps presenting during the three-day summit, he said, only four are men.)

Capriotti's, which has made a name for itself selling slow-roasted turkey sandwiches in Delaware and Nevada, is in the middle of a launch as we speak. It's out with an impossible cheesesteak coupled with a "robust marketing plan, an omnichannel approach and looking at a mass-market mix with specific target strategies. So far, she said, so good.

The brand has learned from experience over its 40 years. Having single-minded focus on one channel wasn't delivering the ROI it needed. "We had reach and frequency," said McPherson, "but  geo-targeting is not a perfect science, and programmatic is hard." It started diversifying its media spend, mixing in radio with digital, and got better results. We are purposeful in marrying social and radio and programmatic," she said. "We get segmented dedicated to being customers specific in our app and deliver the energy of the brand on social."

While A/B testing its app last year, McPherson said the brand found that "really engaging the customer was as effective as delivering a deep discount. That was a big ah-ha, news to us."

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