Communicate spoke with Hussein Kandil, Regional Marketing Director, Hardees MENA, to learn more about their brand re-launch.
What is the reason behind the new brand re-launch?
When Hardees launched their first store in Kuwait in 1980, we had the distinction of being the first American fast-food franchise in the Middle East. For many across the region, it was their first taste of western fast-food culture and the Hardees brand still holds a warm place in many fast-food aficionados hearts.
Now with the changing times, the region’s socio and economic landscape has developed at an accelerated pace, and the need for every brand to keep up with this development is imminent. Hardees' first complete rebrand in more than three decades comes as we seek to reinvent ourselves for Generation Z, while also staying true to our core loyal patrons who have supported the brand over the years.
Hardees GO ALL IN – a new brand platform that unapologetically celebrates indulgence. All In as a platform implies abundance, generosity. On an emotional level it also implies courage. At its core, this platform heroes the noble burger as a metaphor for life itself – something that deserves to be relished, celebrated and seized with both hands. GO ALL IN serves as an open challenge to a world where societal pressures to conform are increasingly encroaching upon our freedoms and liberty, an antidote to the status quo.
Why do it now?
Simply because there is no better time than now. The industry has been severely impacted as a result of the global pandemic and has also seen a steep change in consumer behavior. Hence, we decided to invest in our brand, to gear up for what is to come.
“Go All In” has seen a 180° transformation of product, packaging, uniform, technology enabled interventions and speed of service. With product innovation and upgrades to ensure a richer and a better tasting burger, customers can now indulge and enjoy each moment whether they dine-in or opt for home-delivery or takeaway.
It is also a new brand philosophy with a new design aesthetic across all touchpoints and guest experiences, including logo, packaging, menu boards, uniforms, décor, social media and other marketing assets.
The campaign encourages a lifestyle and attitude to inspire people to stay true to themselves, live in the moment, and be unapologetic, bold and free. How did you decide on these personality traits?
We invested a lot of time on understanding the customers of today through research, social listening, interviews,etc. Gen Z are definitely unique- they follow their envies, their dreams, they don’t want to miss out (FOMO), they are realistic dreamers and they're here to take over. They believe it’s their turn [to shine.] They are the left coasters of the Middle East. They are the hungry ones They have one moto and that is, “I want it all and I want it now”
In an ever more cluttered marketing landscape, it’s not about speaking to everybody – it’s about speaking to your core target audience in a way that resonates with who they are and what they stand for. Our new branding captures the essence of who those customers are – a liberated subset of QSR connoisseurs that live their lives to the full – people who value quality ingredients and taste with no room for compromise.
How has the QSR industry utilized digital in their campaigns and communication strategies?
The global pandemic has given an enormous boost to regional e-commerce, with profound and lasting changes in consumer and enterprise behavior. The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation across various industries including the QSR industry, that faced dine-in closures across the GCC, resulting in an increased pressure on their delivery service. To compensate the lost revenue from dine-in customers, most QSRs focused on building home delivery channels and other contactless channels like drive-thru, pick-up and take away.
This led to focus on creating a superior digital experience through enhanced apps, innovative drive-thru and car-hop experiences and also making the purchase process as simple as possible. It also became crucial to be present on key media touchpoints & traffic drivers along the path to purchase and understand customer journeys to reduce attrition and maximize conversion.
Most QSRs shifted their media spending from outdoor to digital, to capture customers who were mostly stuck in their homes and were in-market to order food. This market shock has created a change in many of the QSRs communication strategies that shifted to being digital first – capitalizing on the power of digital signals and platforms to capture demand for food delivery and serve the optimal communication to the optimal customer. Many of the QSRs shifted from campaign-based communication to always on presence across various platforms including search, paid social, programmatic, and direct deals with CPA based suppliers who can drive orders and app installs.
QSR brands focused their communication [content] around safety, COVID-19 precautions and contactless delivery to build trust amongst their customers. There has been lot of offer led communication, keeping in mind the consumer sentiments and need state. And to get this all right, brands need to be sharp and to the point in their communication. As the saying goes, "if you can’t get them in eight seconds, you've lost them."