Wendy's takes broad digital approach

18 June 2014

NEW YORK: Wendy's, the quick-service restaurant chain, is seeking to "talk to people how, when and where they want" as it attempts to engage consumers using an increasingly diverse range of digital channels.

Brandon Rhoten, vp/digital and social media at Wendy's, discussed the firm's new-media strategy while speaking at the Social Media World Forum 2014, an event held in New York.

Its overarching objective of reaching shoppers across the various types of media they are using, he admitted, may appear to be slightly imprecise. If so, there is a good reason for this in-built flexibility.

"That seems a little vague, but it's vague for a purpose because this world is always changing, and our main principles have to ladder up to something that is constant. So this is our primary strategy," he said.

"Mobile and social are the top priority. And the reason they are the top priority is that they are the top priority to consumers," he added. "That's what we try to do: replicate." (For more, including how to achieve incremental reach via Facebook, read Warc's exclusive report: Wendy's boosts brand awareness with social media.)

In identifying which social and mobile services may be most relevant, Wendy's closely monitors the digital habits of its core demographic.

"What we do is we build off current trends, and the reason is that this consumer is jumping around to a thousand different things a day, is jumping from platform to platform constantly," Rhoten said.

"We have to base whatever we do off a trend that's current; it can't be six months old, it has got to be from today."

In pursuing its strategy, Wendy's is also adopting a cross-media approach, so that its content and brand assets can be accessed in the way the customer chooses.

"These platforms are quickly becoming more and more similar, which means that we have to start with the lowest common denominator, which is the mobile phone. So everything is built for that and then has to work across every other platform.

"So, for us, we're starting to think less and less about what is the mobile phone doing for me versus the tablet versus the computer, and just 'how can this stuff work everywhere?', and if somebody wants to use it on their tablet, great."

Data sourced from Warc