CASE STUDY

How P.F. Chang’s Redefines Brand and Increases Revenue with UGC

At the center of P.F. Chang’s Farm to Wok® slogan lies what all restaurant and consumer facing businesses strive for: cooking up a unique customer experience. With the menu and great food ready to serve, the key challenge for P.F. Chang’s marketing team is getting this value in front of patrons.

With CMO Dwayne Chambers, who formerly led marketing for Krispy Kreme, at the helm, this meant doubling down on social media, digital, and content marketing efforts—not traditional advertising avenues. A plan of attack that has been beyond successful—with P.F. Chang’s performing above the industry average over the last nine months.


P.F. Chang’s Ditches Traditional Advertising For Digital

The bold move to go all-in with digital arose from the need to connect more meaningfully with patrons both old and new. It’s for this reason that P.F. Chang’s marketing team did not simply rely on themselves as the face and communication arm of the restaurant, but also turned to those who could see the brand the best. Their customers.

The question for other restaurant chains then becomes; how can a marketing team spending $0 on traditional advertising get customers to do the marketing?


The Challenge

Increase P.F. Chang's Revenue and Redefine the Brand in the Age of the Instagrammable Restaurant

P.F. Chang’s is a strong and well recognized brand, but this notoriety isn’t without its drawbacks. The restaurant’s decades as a sit down staple has also entrenched the image of the company, making it more of a known and less novel in the age of the “Instagrammable restaurant.” With the average customer visiting P.F. Chang’s only twice a year (for special occasions), this redefinition is critical for increasing brand loyalty and patronage. For Brian Best, Head of Interactive Engagement, Loyalty & eCommerce, this meant tackling a few difficult questions:

  • How do we use digital to increase patronage and subsequently revenue?
  • How does P.F. Chang’s redefine the conversation around the brand?
  • How can CGC (customer-generated content) drive traffic to the restaurant?
  • How can P.F. Chang’s track and report the attribution on that journey?

With these questions setting the tone for P.F. Chang’s marketing objectives, it became clear to Best that the focus had to be on the food and experience. More importantly, he zeroed in on what would amplify P.F. Chang’s value as a special occasion restaurant:


“Building up third party testimonials is important. We also have lots of great content globally and touting that is an opportunity”

— Brian Best, Head of Interactive Engagement, Loyalty & eCommerce

To do this, P.F. Chang’s marketing team knew that they would have to leverage the user-generated content that highlights their brand across social and the web everyday.

UGC with P.F. Chang's

The Solution

Leverage TINT’s User Generated Content Platform to Promote P.F. Chang’s Breadth of Offerings

P.F. Chang’s marketing leadership knew that the restaurant had to tap into customer testimonials and social media content in order to hit those revenue goals. But how?

The answer came from TINT, the platform that boosts brand engagement, increases customer loyalty, and drives business growth by humanizing marketing channels with authentic and trustworthy user-generated content.

Managing this effort has been Cecelia Romero, P.F. Chang’s Social Media Manager. Since she’s at the frontline of where the high performing customer content is created, it’s become increasingly important that she’s able to capture and leverage this social word of mouth.

P.F. Chang's Website

Fortunately, TINT’s machine learning engine that uncovers the best visual content is perfectly equipped to help her do that job. TINT machine learning grants P.F. Chang’s the ability to source content that follows specific brand guidelines.

Besides allowing Romero to easily filter out any less than favorable content, TINT provides extensive value in the variety created for social feeds. Romero had this to say on the diverse content mix she’s able to curate:

“I would just say that TINT gives a good variety of what's displayed. I try to mix up drinks, desserts, entrees. Showing kind of the breadth of our offerings on our website or whatever display that it's showcased on.”

Romero also made sure to mention that the ability to collect and share from known brand advocates is a huge plus. Filtering through captions that reinforce the P.F. Chang’s customer experience makes TINT invaluable to promoting the brand in an authentic way.

Affirming this value further, when asked how important being empowered to quickly find the right user generated content, Romero replied with this:

“Pretty important because I'm just one person here from a social perspective so my day starts off of going into TINT and picking content. I need to find what's best. It's going to go on our website front and center—so it has to be good and recent content that shows our food and our brand in the best light.”

Beyond leveraging TINT to display customer-generated content on their website, P.F. Chang’s also used the technology to bolster marketing campaigns, including Chinese New Years, Sushi Day, and their 25th Anniversary.

The success of these initiatives has opened up the potential for TINT powered displays in other locations like offices and mobile trailers.


Removing The Content Noise With UGC Machine Learning

As a relatively new user of the smart curation, Romero has already found value, saying:

“TINT’s machine learning for UGC has definitely made it a lot easier to find those quality pictures right off the bat. And it removed the noise.”

Romero’s mention of “noise” gets at the very problem that TINT machine learning was created to solve—one inherent to other forms of curation. In order to effectively capture and share customer-generated content that excites potential patrons, machine learning analyzes every post in a company’s TINT to extract the photos, videos, and posts that will connect with its audience.

The smart curation capabilities that this opens up have been a huge value-add to Romero’s workflow. Since P.F. Chang’s user-generated content can reach thousands of posts and photos per day, sifting through this content can be tedious and cut into time that could be spent elsewhere.


Before TINT Machine Learning advanced filtering
Before TINT Machine Learning advanced filtering
After TINT Machine Learning advanced filtering
After TINT Machine Learning advanced filtering

TINT machine learning was developed to combat this tedium and give users back time to be more productive. And with this power at her fingertips, Romero is able to get more specific, personalized, and effective than ever in her content queries.

“It’s good for when I'm looking for something specific like that use case where we didn't have a photo of the new horse statue going up in our new restaurant. And so I just took the gamble thinking, ‘hey, maybe we'll find something on TINT’, and ended finding a photo the contractors had posted on Instagram. It was a great shot. The horse was on the truck. It was on the way to the store. It was clear. It was perfect. And so machine learning helped to narrow down what I'm looking for to the very user-generated content that we can use, get rights for, and repurpose.”


The Results

TINT helps P.F. Chang’s Increase Efficiency, Get Back More Time, and Find the Best Quality Content

The total impact of TINT has been undeniably positive. Just looking at the initial numbers for what P.F. Chang’s has been able to accomplish with the user-generated content platform showcases the benefits to efficiency, time, and quality TINT has provided.

400

most effective posts identified out of over 11,000

140

posts sorted through a day

In just two weeks of using TINT, P.F. Chang’s was able to significantly improve the quality of the user-generated content shared on its website.

Romero summed it up by adding:

“I would say for people who are on leaner teams like me who don't have a ton of resources to be going in and combing through thousands of posts that are coming in. TINT helps—from an efficiency standpoint—to choose the best content in a very quick, concise way.”

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