Nation’s Restaurant News speaks with vice president of marketing Bobby Williams about new program
Smoothie King plans to unveil a new campaign called “Iam1” this week to support customers’ efforts to get or stay fit in the New Year.
Smoothie King, which has more than 600 units in 32 states, the Cayman Islands and South Korea, is launching the campaign with an Internet microsite dedicated to encouraging guests to share their weight-loss success stories.
The company also will select customers to receive free smoothies for a year, in addition to such offers as personal training for a month and new workout shoes.
“We’ve always been a company focused on providing accessible, healthy alternatives to the typical meal on the go,” Steve Kuhnau, founder and chief executive of Smoothie King, said in a statement. “Over the course of the year, not only will our marketing efforts focus on healthy living, but we will also introduce new products that make it easier than ever for our guests to get and stay fit.”
Nation’s Restaurant News asked Bobby Williams, Smoothie King’s vice president of marketing, about the program.
What are the most engaging aspects of the Iam1 microsite?
Iam1 is more than just a microsite. It’s a campaign about our guests — the people who love Smoothie King and have achieved their ideal weight, fitness or health with our brand. It’s about capturing their success, recognizing them and then paying it forward to someone who needs a boost of support to reach their goals in 2012. The campaign aims to encourage guests to share their weight loss success stories and lead the path to health and wellness as influencers themselves.
What were the mechanics and costs of setting it up?
All of our marketing efforts are a combination of digital, direct mail, social, e-mail, PR and in-store support. In collaboration with our agency, SMG, we created the microsite as a place to gather testimonials. This campaign is not about a big spend. It’s about investing in our community and supporting them on their path to wellness.
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Weight loss is top of mind at the beginning of the year, but are you appealing to other drivers?
Smoothie King has organically grown over the past 40 years because of the people that rely on the quality of our products and ingredients, and the results they have achieved with Smoothie King as a part of their daily routine. While weight loss is definitely a popular New Year’s resolution, Smoothie King has always focused on providing healthy and functional meals on the go.
Iam1 is the beginning of something special for 2012. It’s part of the bigger picture, which includes rallying behind our community and supporting them on their path to wellness, and to meet goals that aren’t just about weight loss but about becoming your best self.
What are the demographics you are targeting and why?
We are really focusing on our core audience — those who care about us, live locally and spend time in our stores. We are targeting those who want to make health and wellness a part of their lifestyle, and celebrating those who have already embraced it. We are making functional food accessible to anyone who may not have the time, the tools or the ingredients to make it on their own. Iam1 is about discovering who our guests really are, and acknowledging or helping them along the way.
How are you distinguishing your program from organized commercial programs, like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig?
Every day we hear from our guests about how Smoothie King has changed their lives — whether it’s weight loss success with products like Lean1, helping overcome food allergies, or simply maintaining a healthy lifestyle. From the beginning, Smoothie King has served as a healthy lifestyle center, providing a variety of products — including enhancers, supplements and protein bars, along with smoothies — that are unique to each person’s needs. We accept that there isn’t one meal plan that works for everybody. Iam1 is about creating a community of support, allowing our guests to influence and inspire one another, with Smoothie King offering the tools to get them there, [with retail products, gym memberships, workout gear and more.] We are a quick-service chain, providing quality, healthy and nutritious food on the go.
How are you using Facebook in the program? What other social-media platforms might you incorporate?
Social media will definitely be a driver throughout the campaign, and a great deal of focus will be on our existing customers, those who are already loyal fans in the “Kingdom” and their communities. Not only will we feature some of our success stories on our Facebook page and direct people to the microsite, but we will also encourage fans, new and old alike, to share how they plan to be good to themselves in 2012 directly on www.facebook.com/smoothieking. Out of all the entries we receive, one person will win a free year of smoothies.
How are you separating Smoothie King from all the other smoothie brands?
While the core of most smoothie chains has always been providing healthy, on-the-go meal options, there’s been a recent trend of these companies introducing not-so-good-for-you food and other items to combat cold-weather dips in sales and competition from other QSR’s dabbling in the smoothie space. Smoothie King refuses to compromise its mission and is taking extra measures in the New Year to support its guests in their commitment to better health. We are and always have been about offering the smoothie as a complete meal replacement, a convenient way to get the nutrients you need to support a healthy lifestyle.