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Zaxby’s rewards mobile social engagement via new app, Web site

September 23, 2013

The Zaxby's check-in app

Quick-service restaurant chain Zaxby’s is rewarding customers with prizes, including free food, when they engage with the brand via social media.

The new Check-in For Chicken loyalty program includes an iOS app and mobile-optimized Web site where customers can engage with the brand beyond its restaurants. The launch coincides with the kick-off of Zaxby’s new football and basketball sponsorships.

“Zaxby’s previous mobile focus was primarily around utility, including things like the restaurant locator and driving directions,” said Shane Santiago, vice president and digital director at St. John & Partners, Jacksonville, FL.

“While utility is paramount when it comes to a mobile experience, this time around the focus was to balance that utility with engagement and content creation,” he said. “We wanted Zaxby’s fans to know that we recognized their fanaticism and wanted to reward them for it.

“Mobile and social media are intertwined when it comes to digital engagement. Zaxby’s understands that their fans use their mobile devices regularly to create content around the Zaxby’s brand, whether that’s taking photos, tweeting, and checking in. So, the two go hand in hand when it comes to making a seamless connection between the Zaxby’s brand and their guests.”

Athens, GA-based Zaxby’s operates more than 580 locations in 13 Southern states where it sells chicken fingers, wings and sandwiches.

The chain worked with digital agency St. John & Partners as well as Lodestone Social Media on the program.

Free food
Customers who want to participate in the Check-in for Chicken program first need to link their social media accounts. Then they can begin earning points for engaging in social activities such as uploading photos, updating their status and inviting friends.

The app also enables users to locate the nearest restaurant, check-in at Zaxby’s and view their points on the leaderboard.

Users redeem points for entries to win exclusive prizes, including free Zaxby’s for a year or a trip and tickets to the 2014 college football national championship game in Pasadena, CA.

The Check-in For Chicken mobile optimized Web site.

The Check-in For Chicken program is an example of how marketers with a loyal fan base are leveraging mobile and social to reward and incentivize brand ambassadors while driving brand conversations on their own platforms.

College sports sponsorship
The social rewards program is part of Zaxby’s two-year college sports sponsorship with 28 Division I colleges across states where the chain’s restaurants are located.

The Zaxby’s program is the latest example of how merchants are leveraging mobile social to enhance their relationships with customers.

For example, fast casual restaurant chain Cosi recently mobile and social at the center of a multichannel campaign, enabling smartphone users to share special offers with friends and simultaneously be entered for a chance to win a grand prize (see story).

“The [Zaxby’s] campaign is being promoted through online display ads, a microsite, social media, TV spots, Zaxby’s text messaging and email programs, POS display and radio, for a full 360-communication,” Mr. Santiago said. “The social rewards program runs through the 2014 college basketball season, when we’ll evaluate to see if we will continue it for the 2014 college football and 2015 college basketball seasons.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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