Boosting Brand Awareness with Gamified Content

By Susan Lintonsmith, CMO, Quiznos | May 06, 2014

The need to reach customers is a never-ending quest, especially when scaling a successful product to meet new needs for a faithful customer base. Quiznos (www.quiznos.com) has long been known for its quality, chef-inspired sandwiches delivered for the time (and food) starved customer. But when preparing to promote its catering menu for large groups, Quiznos had to identify a clever platform to educate customers en masse while preserving the light, fun and colorful brand identity for which the company was known.

The challenge was informing its brick-and-mortar customers that not only could they get their favorite meal to go when eating solo, but also when crunching the numbers with work colleagues or celebrating a milestone with friends and family. In addition, Quiznos wanted to do so in a way that invited both current and new customers to explore the brand and its offerings willingly, via a solution that encouraged self-selection by participants, to ensure they were learning more about the catering options on their own terms.

In an era where customers are blindsided daily by native ads and other content designed to look “real” (but which are in reality advertising), it was important to choose a path that informed without interfering with the customer’s ability to determine how much they wanted to learn and how long they wished to interact with the brand.
Quiznos enlisted the services of Dailybreak Media (www.dailybreakmedia.com) to craft a unique challenge campaign called “Feed Us, Quiznos!” that tested participants’ knowledge of planning meals for large groups while informing them about the catering menu at Quiznos. The platform employs a concept known as gamification, whereby elements that are typical to game play such as points, competition and rules are brought to an activity that is not traditionally a game. In marketing, it can be used to build brand awareness, for example through a series of simple brand trivia quizzes that serve to both inform consumers and drive deeper engagement by extending the time they spend interacting with the brand. In the case of the “Feed Us, Quiznos” challenge, participants were encouraged to take and upload photos conveying why they were the hungriest and most in need of a free catered lunch courtesy of Quiznos. Users were then encouraged to share the campaign on social networks and collect votes from other challenge participants.

Impressed with the high levels of engagement a gamified challenge platform could deliver, Quiznos can now reach customers in such a way that they don’t feel pressured and are compelled to increase their involvement by sharing participation within personal social networks.

Customer engagement is a two-way relationship
For Quiznos, engagement is not a strictly sales-oriented promotion. Brand information is contained within an experience that is fun and engaging so that the consumer wants to extend brand interaction, which generates loyalty and furthers opportunities to make a far more subtle pitch.

Today’s customers are ad-weary and want to be rewarded for their attention, a trend Quiznos saw as important for growing awareness and meaningful engagement with consumers. Engagement campaigns draw the target audience in, create an experience, and simultaneously educate them about the sponsoring brand and content. Whereas native ad programs are measured by reach or impressions, gamified engagement programs can be built to measure time spent interacting with the brand, actions taken within its content area, steps completed, and downloads or click-throughs to sponsors’ websites. They employ an interactive experience that is readily quantified and capable of bringing more hungry mouths to the table.


     
What was your first job?
My first job was working at a local neighborhood restaurant called Piccolo’s that offers both Italian and Mexican food (plus pizza). It is still open and thriving today. I worked at Piccolo’s through high school, and during college breaks until I graduated.

What are your hobbies?
Long walks, playing golf and skiing with my family. My time is spent at work or at sports practices or games with my two sons.

Sage Advice:
Spend time in the restaurants in the kitchen to understand the process and what our team members need to do to execute for our guests.

What technologies excite you?
I love technologies that make my life simpler. I use Waze on my commute every day to figure out the fastest route.

What is one other job that you would like to try?
Holistic doctor. I love nutrition and medicine and would enjoy combining both to help people live healthier lives.
 
What is one goal that you would like to achieve in your life?
Being the best mom ever!  My goal is to raise fine young men who are educated, well-rounded, happy and empathetic to the needs of others.

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