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Why Buffalo Wild Wings Takes Geo-Social Seriously

  |  June 15, 2011   |  Comments

Restaurant chain scores 200,000 Scvngr participants as second campaign begins.

buffalo-wild-title-imageBuffalo Wild Wings has an answer for marketers who scoff at the number of consumers reached by geo-social campaigns. The brand this summer is running its second initiative on Scvngr's mobile app, after nearly 180,000 of its customers participated in a campaign during basketball season.

"Our in-restaurant environment really lends itself to this type of technology," Amy Boehm, brand manager for the Minneapolis-based restaurant chain, told ClickZ News. "Our target customers are often early adopters.…I think it really depends on your brand, whether [geo-social] works with it and aligns with it. And it depends on whether it appeals to your guests. But it really does work for us."

During an effort that ran from late fall 2010 to this spring, for single check-ins, her firm awarded Scvngr players with either a complimentary plate of six wings, a free soda, or 20 percent off branded merchandise at BuffaloWildWings.com. Boston-based Scvngr's platform, which has more than one million consumer users, also lets players meet so-called challenges while competing for grand prizes. In Buffalo Wild Wings' case, it offered a dinner with basketball legend Scottie Pippen and tickets to a NBA Finals game.

For the current campaign, dubbed "Flavor Fanatics," it's offering similar single check-in offers but a markedly different type of grand prize. The first-place winner will get a 70-inch high-definition TV and a blue-ray disc player. Second place will garner the same flat-screen, but no blue-ray player, while third place will simply receive a free blue-ray.

"We decided to try out a product as a reward as a opposed to an experience just to see if it is more enticing to people," Boehm said. Two weeks in, she said, nearly 200,000 customers are playing "Flavor Fanatics" on Scvngr, which is 20,000 more than the number participating in the earlier effort on on the geo-social platform.

buffalo-wild-2Boehm said Scvngr's game features sync up well with her brand's sports- and mobile-minded patrons. "We liked the idea of [consumers] being able to complete challenges and earn points," she said. "Our guests are pretty competitive people anyway. So this gave us the opportunity to really engage them more."

Buffalo Wild Wings is utilizing a branded leader board (pictured) via Scvngr to encourage the competitive environment. Her company's version on the iPhone/Android app allows patrons to personally appear on a national leader board of individual participants; they can also see if their Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant ranks in the top five among the brand's hundreds of participating locations.

Compared to the previous effort, Boehm explained, "We have a significantly greater number of challenges being played. We are engaging the new unique users as well as the ones we picked up during basketball season."

But does geo-social significantly affect sales? The brand manager suggested it was too early for her to definitively tell.

"This is our first foray into location-based platforms," Boehm said. "So far, so good. We are quite happy with the results."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

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