Digital Marketing & Event Promotions Case Study: CREOLE Restaurant
Case Study: Marketing & EventsNYC restaurant sees more than 177% digital growth in three monthsClient: CREOLE Restaurant & Music Supper ClubCity/State: New York, NYServices: Event Planning; Digital Marketing; Creative/Graphic Design; Community Relations/ Fundraising;Strategic DirectionDuration: 3 months (Sept. to Dec. 2012)BACKGROUND/PROGNOSIS:CREOLE Restaurant and Music Supper Club is a restaurant located in the heart of New York’s East Harlemcommunity. The establishment specializes in gourmet Louisiana-style cuisine and is a music and entertainmentvenue that hosts various events throughout each month.The client wanted a new and refreshed branding strategy to promote the venue’s ongoing signature events, aswell as to expand its customer base to include new target demographics, like tourists and young professionals.Despite a loyal following, CREOLE owners and management faced many challenges to business growth andsustainability. Among them were: Primary: CREOLE location’s lack of reasonable proximity to the busy corridors of tourist traffic thatsupports other restaurants and cultural attractions in Harlem, New York. Secondary: The restaurant’s digital interface – critical to addressing the above challenge -- wassubstantially out-dated. CREOLE’s website, for example, had not been maintained visually ortechnically, preventing the business from capitalizing on key low-cost, high-volume strategiesutilized frequently by its competitors.To address those and other immediate concerns, CREOLE commissioned Pixel Prose Media to carry out high-profile strategic marketing initiatives that would successfully increase restaurant traffic, sales, and publicity.STRATEGY & IMPLEMENTATIONUpon project initiation, Pixel Prose Media immediately set out to implement strategies targeted at creatingand promoting key CREOLE events; publicity and marketing would be carried out through various avenues,including social media, direct media and blogger outreach, and branding collateral design (i.e. event palm
cards, web banner ads, menus). An email marketing outline and social media editorial calendar were createdto organize and schedule all digital activities. Lists of relevant media and bloggers were compiled. The clientdeclined to invest website upgrades during the contracted period. As an alternative, a blog was created as anevent and content marketing resource.Once the internal marketing foundation was in place, Pixel Prose created new major events to reach culturallyactive and younger professional customers from outside the immediate area.I: The Inaugural 2012 Presidential Debate Watch Party, and 2012 Election Night Party: PixelProse formed strategic sponsorship alliances with Organizing for America-Harlem, The ProgressiveDemocratic Club of East Harlem, Drinking Liberally Harlem, and NYC Council Representative MelissaMark-Viverito to increase attendance and diversity of customers for the events. The inaugural debatewatch party garnered extensive mainstream and grassroots press for the venue, including internationalnews crews and PBS asking to cover the event.II: Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) African Diaspora Series: Forsome time CREOLE had been seeking to form an alliance with a local cultural institution to build newsynergies. CCCADI -- a highly-respected organization with nearly forty years of deep community roots --was a perfect fit, as it was based in East Harlem yet had cultivated a strong and active membershipbase throughout New York City. Furthermore, CREOLE’s genre of cuisine synced up well with thecultural food and cooking traditions that CCCADI works to celebrate and preserve. As such, PPM wasable to successfully negotiate and manage this key strategic partnership, working in close collaborationwith CCCADI to create and promote “Afrodembe,” a twice-monthly series of events slated for the latefall of 2012 and winter 2013.III: Taste of Creole: In an effort to highlight the restaurant’s Creole-Cajun seafood specialties, anexclusive culinary event was organized and scheduled just weeks before Christmas. Billed andpromoted as a holiday tasting affair, the event featured an exotic Prix Fixe menu and CREOLE’ssignature live entertainment (in this case, an authentic New Orleans Brass Brand). To promote thetasting, Pixel Prose scouted out the services of an epicurean events coordinator on CREOLE’S behalf tospecifically manage the menu and décor of the event. To maximize sales and attendance, discounttickets were offered exclusively to existing subscribers of CREOLE’s mailing list, and robust localoutreach was conducted to generate advance publicity.IV: Annual Thanksgiving Charity Dinner: In conjunction with these new events, Pixel Prose wastasked with promoting CREOLE’S signature weekly, monthly and yearly functions. Most notable wasthe CREOLE Annual Thanksgiving Community Dinner, for which PPM raised $3,000 in less than fourweeks to cover costs of feeding hundreds of local families for the holiday. Key planning componentsincluded creating/designing the event promotional materials; implementing a media andmarketing strategy; and recruiting on-site volunteers to assist with key dinner logistics.
RESULTS & ANALYTICSSocial MediaAfter three months of active traditional and digital outreach, CREOLE experienced a significant surge inFacebook fans: from approx. 600 “Likes” to more than 1,000 in less than three months. In all, the restaurantsaw a more than 177% growth in its digital presence, and an exponential increase in customers both duringthe week and on weekends.Combined analytics show that social media campaigns carried out through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, as wellas other innovative marketing tools, directly contributed to this spike in customers and strategic partnershipsover the three-month contract period.EventsDue to extensive on-the-ground outreach and robust digital and social media marketing, CREOLE experiencedmajor turnouts for both the Presidential Debate Watch Party and the Election Night Party: More than 100 people attended each of the Pixel Prose-created watch party events (CREOLE’s maxcapacity= 90). Despite concurrent parties hosted by competing restaurants in the very same area,CREOLE’s Election Night Party was standing room only throughout the several hours of Election Nightmedia coverage, as new guests quickly filed in to fill the seats of those who’d already left. Based on the success of the inaugural event, New York City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viveritorequested to host a second Debate Watch Party at CREOLE the following week, and also asked tobecome a host partner for the Election Night Party. Both events were subsequently billed by media and political groups as the biggest election-themedparties in Harlem.Community Relations/Fundraising Pixel Prose Media raised $3000.00 in monetary donations -- and significantly more in in-kind donationswere raised -- towards CREOLE’S annual Thanksgiving Charity Drive. Notable contributors included:o Mount Sinai Medical Centero Artimus Contructiono DDM Development & Serviceso Gran Piatto D’Oro Pixel Prose Media provided support to CREOLE for presentations at community meetings, such as theManhattan Community Board 11’s general body meeting, and guest appearances at local culinaryevents & festivals such as Savor the Season, a high-profile charity event for the non-profit HarvestHome, hosted by star chef and owner of Harlem’s popular “Red Rooster” restaurant, MarcusSamuelsson.
Strategic Communications Database of more than 3,500 subscribers was fully optimized and integrated with all CREOLE socialmedia properties; all contacts were segregated into targeted lists, and more than sixteen distributionsof weekly email campaigns were executed. At least two press announcements were sent out to more than 100 reporters and bloggers throughoutNew York City. CREOLE received mentions in well-read outlets like The New York Times, Grub Street New York, HarlemWorld Magazine, HarlemCondoLife, and others. Five creative design projects were completed during the three-month project, including:o Two two-sided event post cardso One two-sided advertising palm cardo A new brunch menuo Official e-newsletter templateo Strategic Branding Info-graphic Two strategic branding PowerPoint presentations were created for and delivered to client.CLICK BELOW TO VIEW:Event photosMarketing collateralMedia announcementsCREOLE on Facebook