As ice cream brand Baskin-Robbins celebrates the opening of its 1000th location in the region, Michael Haley, President & Managing Director at Inspire Brands, sat with Communicate.
What are some of Baskin-Robbins's key marketing milestones in the region?
As we celebrate a historic milestone in the opening of the 1000th Baskin-Robbins location in the region, we are proud of the multi-channel marketing strategy that has helped drive consistent growth and relevance for our brand. Over the last two years alone, Baskin-Robbins has continued to introduce new flavor variety, such as our recent partnerships with Nutella and Oreo, while expanding our 'Take Home' offerings and delivery accessibility to ensure guests can enjoy their favorite ice cream from the comfort of their home. We’ve also brought the Baskin-Robbins experience to guests in new markets, such as the record launch of the brand in Morocco in August 2021.
How has Baskin-Robbins's marketing strategy in MENA evolved over the years and how would you describe it today?
Baskin-Robbins is always focused on meeting the evolving needs and preferences of our guests, including increasing our accessibility via digital and delivery and engaging our guests through relevant product platforms. However, we have and will always maintain a relentless focus on providing flavor variety and product quality – two elements that set the Baskin-Robbins apart in the ice cream category.
What are any key insights that you can share about GCC consumers in general, and consumers of ice cream in particular?
Middle East consumers have adopted digital at a significant rate, but still value an engaging in-store experience. Baskin-Robbins locations engage guests with the quality and variety of our offerings, from the ability to sample our variety of flavors with our iconic pink spoons, to the delicious smell of our freshly-made waffle cones. We also find that Middle East consumers enjoy an indulgent treat – in fact, Baskin-Robbins premium sundaes and desserts are a particularly popular category among our guests in the region versus other global markets.
How can a consumer brand like Baskin & Robbins innovate and embrace digital transformation to connect with the GCC's large, tech-savvy, younger audience?
In a region with one of the highest rates of Internet and mobile usage, maintaining a focus on digital innovation is essential for brands to remain relevant. Baskin-Robbins connects with our guests across a wide variety of digital channels, from delivery aggregators to e-commerce to social media. As part of Inspire Brands, we also have access to the scale and resources needed to invest in digital platforms designed to engage new guests and streamline the guest experience.
What future challenges and opportunities do you foresee for the brand generally, and in the region particularly? How do you prepare for them?
Everchanging consumer preferences require Baskin-Robbins to be proactive and agile across all areas of our business. As a leader in ice cream, we have the opportunity to drive continuous innovation across our products and channels to remain relevant and accessible for our guests, particularly as it relates to flavor variety and digital platforms.
These opportunities are brought to life by fostering a culture of innovation within our teams and maintaining collaborative relationships with strong licensees like Galadari Ice Cream Company. Additionally, as part of the Inspire portfolio, Baskin-Robbins is able to listen to and learn from our other brands across all aspects of the business, from restaurant design to technology. Supported by strong teams and the scale of our family of brands, Baskin-Robbins is poised for continued growth and success in the years to come.