When Chatime launched a campaign in partnership with Student Edge to offer vouchers and discounts to students, it set off a craze that has increased traffic to the tea chain’s stores.
The campaign’s four-point tactic to attract the youth market? Go social, be engaging, ooze authenticity and give substantial discounts.
Chatime began the campaign by working closely with Student Edge, the largest independent organization of high school and tertiary students, with over 900,000 members across Australia.
As an initial activation, the two brands launched a competition asking customers to guess the number of tapioca balls in a Premium Pearl Milk Tea to win vouchers. This received a high number of entries, and interest was further sustained through dedicated social media and electronic direct mail (eDM) campaigns in the last 6 months.
“The Student Edge social posts regularly achieve the highest engagement in a given month,” says Carlos Antonius, GM at Chatime Australia. “Being authentic in our interactions is important; our brand and the offer resonate strongly with students.”
Chatime also appealed to the relatively constricted spending allowances of students through a discount promotion of 2 regular Fruity Iced or Milky teas for $8.00.
“Students have always made up a substantial proportion of our customer mix and we recognise students are budget conscious but still want to enjoy their favourite beverages,” adds Antonius.
Choon Tan, GM members & marketing at Student Edge says the Chatime discounts and campaign events enhance the value they provide to students, especially given that 3 in 5 students aged 18 and below receive a budget of less than $25 per week. Most of that allowance is spent almost exclusively on food and beverages during weekends and after school.
“Although we help young Australians with the many challenges they face, the main drawcard for our members are the deals Student Edge have negotiated which help make student life that little bit more affordable,” says Tan.
Chatime and Student Edge planned the student campaign to create a lot of buzz online. The brands tickled social media with fun posts that students can share and interact with, and it also added a personal touch through targeted eDM blasts. The campaign also made sure that students can act on their interest for Chatime by giving them plenty of incentives to troop to the nearest store.
“Australia’s youth are staying connected with devices, but most teens are still unable to make purchases online, so for QSR brands tapping into our established national network of students to drive in-store activity is a no-brainer,” says Tan.
The secret to student campaigns
If there is one word that QSR brands must always think about when concocting a student campaign, it is “value.”
Tan reckons the current generation of students are frugal and extremely net savvy. For them, it is second nature and easy to check online how a brand’s offer checks out against other brands.
“One of the biggest challenges of marketing brands to students is failing to deliver genuine value by putting out token offers,” he says. “Brands who are disingenuous with their offers will be treated with the same level of disregard.”
On the other hand, brands that genuinely seek to engage with students and make them feel special will not only see their business flourish, but will even benefit from viral push that this young generation can lend their favorite brands.
“Offering great value with an ‘always-on’ offer is attractive for our student customers,” adds Antonius on how Chatime’s campaign became a hit among students. “We have far exceeded our initial expectations on how many transactions would use the Student Edge offer but are benefiting by building brand loyalty.”
Time to follow student trends
Tan also shares some of the trends that QSR brands should follow when devising their campaigns. Entertainment channels remain powerful channels to reach students.
For example, 2 of out 3 Student Edge members aged 15 to 25 are into movies, TV, and music, where Spotify is their #1 choice. Around 44% consume at least an hour each of free-to-air and subscription TV and 66% watch a movie in the cinema at least 3 times a year.
Another important statistic: 70% of high school students regard social media as ‘important’ or ‘very important’, with over one-third spending an hour or more per day on Facebook.
There is an increasing case to upgrade stores to accept cashless payment methods to cater to tech-savvy students, as nearly 1 in 3 students aged 15 to 25 cite Paywave/ Paypass as their most frequent method used to pay for purchases. Compare this to last year when only 1 in 4 students used such technology. More important, 47% of students admit to having used Paywave / Paypass in the last 7 days.
“Align yourselves with experiences students are consuming,” reminds Tan. “Cash is becoming obsolete as 49% rarely or never use ATMs, and the tap-and-go experience resonates with Generations Y & Z, who generally regard themselves as time poor.”
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