Social Samosa gets in conversation with Lluis Ruiz Ribot, Chief Marketing Officer, KFC India to understand the brand’s social media strategy, with a sneak peek in their plans for 2017.

From their latest Nashville Chicken to the KFC ATM, the food chain has managed to surprise their TG with some finger licking marketing. The KFC ATM reached to over 1.75 million users on social media. In conversation with Ribot, Social Samosa decodes KFC’s social media game.

KFC ATM was an innovative initiative by the brand; how did it help you on social media in creating engagement and conversations?

The Nashville Chicken is a cult-like following product in the USA. KFC is the first QSR to bring this original recipe to India. We wanted to make the launch as legendary as the product and therefore chose a format that is topical, strategically connects with consumers and induces trials.

In the recent months, everyone has seen that good things are worth the wait – whether at ATMs, or in life.  We just decided to make the waiting a little more fun and rewarding! Through the activation we generated a significant buzz on-ground and induced trials. On social media, we reached over 1.8 million consumers, and garnered around 7.5 Lac views for the activation video on our Facebook page.

Nashville Chicken has an interesting backstory, how have you used it in your social media marketing communications?

It does have a very interesting back story that we wanted our consumers to discover it – how a scorned girlfriend and her Prince (not so) charming led to the creation of the Nashville Chicken, when she caught her wayward man Prince Thornton red–handed and in anger made him his favorite meal of fried chicken (only this time loading it with whatever she could lay her hands on in the kitchen). But not only did the Price love the revenge dish, it also gave the city of Nashville, Tennessee, USA the best chicken the city had ever tasted.

To this end, we did a pre-launch by creating a unique game – America’s Biggest Secret – based on the current fascination towards all things American, from the oval office to Hollywood. At the end of the game, consumers discovered that the biggest American secret being revealed is a cult-like following chicken recipe from Nashville which we are now launching in India. This interactive way of pre-launching KFC’s new Nashville chicken was truly addictive and a great way of keeping users hooked. We saw 70,000 registrations over the 4 day period that we ran the campaign.

In the competitive Food & Bev industry, how does your social media strategy give you an edge over your competitors?

Our bull’s eye target is in the 18-24 age group and they spend a considerable amount of their day on social media.  They are more discerning and are appreciative of brands that are bold. To be relevant to this TG, we have always strived to be relevant and distinctive.  One of our most successful campaigns, the KFC Watt-a-box is a case in point. By adding a portable mobile charger to few KFC 5-in-1 Mealbox, we captured their attention and the campaign went on to garner 86 billion impressions globally!!

KFC has a well-integrated communication strategy – where does social media stand in the marketing mix? How much per cent of your marketing budget is reserved for social media?

For us, digital is a mindset and not a percentage!  We think media agnostic and the spends depend on each campaign and the idea that we are driving.  While TV still has a big share of our investments, we are transitioning and pushing the boundaries on experimenting with digital as a medium.

How do you measure RoI or success of your social media campaigns/initiative? What are the parameters of measurement?

Our social media RoI is a function of the objective we have set for the social media campaign. If the objective is to generate awareness, we look at the reach numbers. On the other hand, if the objective is sales, we look at online transactions. But, overall it has to drive –together with the rest of the media- the top line targets that we have set. Therefore, targets are identified before we begin a new campaign, and we monitor the progress closely through the duration.

KFC experiments with various content formats; what has worked best for you so far? What do you think is the reason?

It would be too early to say what has worked best for us, but being a youth oriented brand we will continue to experiment with different formats and constantly innovate. We did cinemagraphs and stop motion videos last year and are looking at trying formats this year. In fact, 2017 started with the launch of our 10-second TV commercials in GIF-like format to promote the popular Wednesday special offer. With this, we became the first brand in the country to bring to television screens an image format that has seen wide popularity online, and has so far has only been accessed on smart phones and computer screens.

Crisis and trolls are a daily thing on social media. Do you have a mechanism in place to deal with it? Please take us through it

Like all brands today, we have digital and PR teams who monitor all our platforms extensively and flag off anything that may need attention.

What are you plans for 2017? Any campaigns in the pipeline?

The plan for 2017 is simple – keep celebrating who we are and bringing to consumers campaigns and innovations that are distinctive and relevant.

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