Strategic Marketing Plan | Brand Refresh | Outsourced Marketing
Sea Island Shrimp House is a chain of fast-causal seafood restaurants founded in San Antonio in 1965. The restaurant has a very established client base, but sought help with their brand to reach younger audiences and new residents. We helped them refresh their brand to appeal to a new audience and created a strategic marketing plan with ongoing marketing support to continue attracting the new audience while still engaging their current customers.
Our work with Sea Island Shrimp House caught industry attention, winning several awards:
Changing an established brand with a large audience base is something we weren’t about to take lightly. Using a research-informed approach to the design, we developed several new brand directions and ran focus groups with target audiences to gain additional insights into how the changes would be received. Participants validated our research, picking creative that reflected a more millennial tone and copy that focused on the flavor of the food. The new brand direction was applied to restaurant interiors, menus, the website, point of purchase signage, uniforms and digital advertising campaigns.
With a new emphasis on flavorful, healthy and fresh options, we set to work capturing dishes on updated place settings with a photographic approach that showed off the freshness of the seafood (an established selling point for the brand) and emphasized details like spices and sauces that add deliciousness to every bite (appealing to the new audiences).
We worked closely with Sea Island’s interior design firm, creating a guide of recommendations to reinforce the new brand and update the interiors. Our team developed in-store artwork and wall murals playing off of millennial humor in a typography-based graphic style.
To ensure that Sea Island’s marketing budget was optimized, we crafted a strategic marketing plan. This started with discovery to understand what current marketing activities were working and which needed adjustment. Researching the purchasing behaviors of the millennial audience, we were able to make further recommendations for the best advertising activities for the year. The challenge was to maintain engagement with their current client base while adding in targeting for millennials. The revised plan reallocated existing budget toward more digital and social tactics, providing breathing room in the budget to fund rebranding initiatives.
Through Google search and display digital advertising, we were able to appeal to a younger target audience with an updated digital advertising campaign. The digital approach made it possible to track visitors from an ad click all the way to a restaurant visit, providing real-time data about the effectiveness of the advertising strategy. Ads were displayed during peak hours of interest and used millennial messaging with an emphasis on flavor to support the new brand position.
“ROBOT has done a fantastic job of carefully and thoughtfully updating our concept. They’ve helped us harness technology to increase our digital footprint and appeal to a younger audience. Our traditional, long-term guests appreciate and love the new things we are doing, which was a concern of ours. The changes have all been a plus.”
Sea Island’s social media took on a new voice with our direction. We provided voice and tone guidelines, as well as training to help the marketing team engage their new millennial audience. We also developed a fan engagement strategy with a new #ShrimpCrew monicker which encourages users to contribute fan-generated content and selfies with the historic mascot, Jolly Jack. Over the first few years of social media management, were able to pass the management of the social media accounts to the back and forth between our staff and their internal team to first establish the accounts and then to cover changing staffing needs.
With a focus on hyper-geotargeting, we used direct mail to engage new home owners in neighborhoods close to each restaurant location. These mailers educated families about their closest restaurant and provided a timely incentive. Combined with our digital strategy, this added another touchpoint to the local audience with a strong incentive to visit.
“I appreciate that ROBOT doesn’t make us dependent on them. Instead, they’ve taught our team to become self-sufficient and do things that are best for us economically. We didn’t want to hire another person with limited speciality, so we utilized ROBOT as an outsourced team instead. Their team has brought so many more disciplines to the table with multiple capabilities that one person could not possibly do on their own.”
After the first year with a revised marketing strategy including heavy emphasis on digital marketing and social media, Sea Island saw a 40.94% increase in website visitors and 48.05% increase for find a location. Social referral traffic was up 133.04% and 24% of that was from Instagram and Instagram stories, compared to 0% from the previous year, showing a younger engaged audience. There was an increase in sales from all demographics, but the largest increase was from the target millennial audience at 15.07%.