June 19, 2019

Positive Buzz: Driving performance metrics that matter

Author:
Oli Fenton, Consultant
we found a 1% shift in positive buzz drives £4.7m of revenue."

“Which levers do we need to pull to improve our bottom-line?”

This is the question most frequently posed to us at Savanta. There are so many data points to analyse, but which are best to focus strategic decision-making upon – which are most aligned with commercial returns?


Using data from BrandVue Eating Out, our syndicated brand tracking platform, we can confidently pinpoint the key management metrics that drive performance. Throughout our analysis, positive noise – or ‘buzz’ – is continuously identified as the key visit driver. It places an operator front-of-mind which ultimately puts bums-on-seats.

 

A tangible phenomenon

We aren’t alone in this thinking – in a recent article for Propel, TGI Friday’s Chief Marketing Officer echoed the sentiment, stating:

“Last year was tough for casual dining and for us as a brand we started to do a lot of soul-searching. We looked at the metrics that matter and started to track ‘positive buzz’. During the year we saw our positive buzz had gone backwards.

We gave Savanta two years of sales and asked what was the key metric having an impact. Savanta discovered it was positive buzz and we found a 1% shift in positive buzz drives £4.7m of revenue. That is what is driving the brand and what we are building on in 2019 – we are looking to enhance a positive.”

From this evidence, we can see that not only is positive buzz a key indicator of a brand’s success – it actually drives revenue uplift, demonstrating the true power of being ‘heard’!

Every brand is impacted by, and has the potential to grow, its buzz."

Perspectives – what does the data tell us?

If you had to choose the brand with the highest positive buzz in the market, who would it be? Probably a brand with great marketing campaigns, PR ploys and record consecutive like-for-like profit increases? Yes, you’ve guessed it, Greggs is top – dwarfing competitors and reaching an astounding 40% of all UK citizens this April.

 

Greggs’ performance

Graph showing the positive buzz of Greggs brand.

With it being a ‘sector neutral’ metric, the top 30 ranked brands in ‘positive buzz’ include grab‘n’go cafes like Greggs; QSR outlets (KFC, Five Guys); sit-down restaurants (Frankie & Benny’s, Wagamama); pub groups and steakhouses (Toby Carvery, Miller & Carter). Every brand is impacted by, and has the potential to grow, its buzz.

But it’s tricky to gain headway – only 26 brands have a positive buzz higher than 10% – with 130+ propositions falling below this threshold. This long tail emphasises that being ‘heard’ is as challenging as driving bottom-line growth. As we now know, increasing the former will ultimately impact the growth of the latter.

 

The ‘long tail’ – Top 30 brands by positive buzz*

Graph ranking the top 30 brands by positive buzz

*All other brands <=9% positive buzz (130+ brands)

 

Positive buzz in action

So, how do we drive positivity? A casual-dining brand must have a laser-like focus on customer wants/needs – within the context of the associated eating /ordering experience. With the proposition essence forming a consistent core to the wider promotional activity. Here’s a couple of illustrative examples:

Going green in time for Veganuary

First, let’s dig into Wagamama’s recent success, introducing an extended vegan menu whilst also discontinuing plastic straws. This paid excellent dividends, with Wagamama’s positive buzz peaking at 22% that January – 8% above their annual average. A fantastic example of aligning personal and global well-being initiatives at a time of heightened-awareness for consumers.

A masterful marketing campaign

It’s also worth highlighting Just Eat’s investment in marcomms activity (which it must be acknowledged has been high-spend and multi-channel). The clarity of the message – with scooters front and centre – has celebrated the essence of their business model: the support of local business and cross-country employment. Immediately following the launch of these campaigns, Just Eat’s positive buzz has been boosted by as much as 8-points.

 

The Digest

Ultimately, there is no such thing as a boiler-plate approach to driving positive buzz. That said, a clear, coherent, brand positioning underpins success. One thing is for certain though, upping your positive buzz is a surefire route to upping your revenue.


 

Positive buzz is just one of hundreds of metrics tracked by BrandVue Eating out, our syndicated brand tracking platform. To learn more about how we can help your brand analyse its market position, get in touch with the form below or contact Oli directly at Oliver.Fenton@Savanta.com.


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