Case Studies


Restaurant Brand Awareness

PANDA MANAGEMENT COMPANY

OVERVIEW
Years ago, the Panda Management Company started as a single full-service white-tablecloth Chinese restaurant in Pasadena, CA, called the Panda Inn. They eventually experimented with their first quick-service gourmet Chinese food restaurant in the Glendale Galleria Mall in Glendale, CA. By the time they celebrated their 20th anniversary, they had their hundredth Panda Express unit. They became the largest Chinese restaurant chain in the country (now with over 800 locations.)

CHALLENGE
They hired us to strengthen their brand and to make it easier to be recognizable as they expanded, mostly in the Southern California area. They wanted to reach busy executives, as well as homemakers too busy to cook lunch or dinner, and were also attempting to reach college students. They wanted news releases sent out for each opening, as well as TV and radio publicity, as they opened in malls, supermarkets, airports, colleges and other locations, throughout the United States, where they have locations.

TACTICS
Each time a new Panda Express was to open, we worked with the local Chambers of Commerce and at least one major charity, to draw immediate attention to the opening (usually donating a percentage of the opening day’s, or weekend’s profits, to the charity). The charity was certain to get as many members as possible to “spread the word” to make the opening day, or week, a huge success, which in turn, would benefit them.

We would send out appropriate news releases, highlighting the charity, and also draw attention to the popularity of the huge quality-controlled chain. We would publicize how newsworthy (depending on the situation) it was to have a branded quick-service restaurant open in that particular location, such as it was the first one ever on Wall Street in New York, or at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA, the Los Angeles Downtown Library, U.C.L.A.’s campus, etc.

We tied into Chinese New Year and gave thousands of stuffed toy Panda bears away to kids at various charities for great TV visuals, such as at Los Angeles Children’s Hospital, where KABC-TV, KNBC-TV KTLA-TV, KCBS-TV, KTTV (FOX) and KCAL-TV covered the event for their evening newscasts. We also placed a spokesperson on a good number of top general radio shows, as well as the food radio shows. These included the #1-ranked Rick Dees morning show on KIIS-FM, as well as KOST, KABC, KRLA, KBIG, KZLA and KRTH. We were on the Merrill Shindler show on KLSX Radio, the top food talk show in Southern California. We sent stories and photos to all of the local papers, near each restaurant around the country, and received a very good pick-up of stories and features.

We also obtained impressive coverage in the top restaurant industry publications, such as “Restaurants & Institutions” and the “Restaurant News” with stories featuring Panda Express’s signature dishes.

RESULTS
In the first year that we handled the Panda Management Company, we were told that with a few different factors, but mostly from our public relations efforts, their recognition had gone up and their profit had increased 18% over the previous year! And we continued that successful pace for the rest of our activities for them for four years while opening around 150 restaurants, until they eventually started handling their publicity in-house.


Supermarket Expansion

HENRY’S FARMERS MARKET

OVERVIEW
Henry’s Farmers Market was founded in San Diego, CA in 1943. They had slowly expanded throughout San Diego and Orange County over the next 66 years. They had received many accolades as “best place to buy produce,” “best health food store,” “best value,” etc.

CHALLENGE
They wanted to enter the tough and huge Los Angles area. They asked us to help inform consumers in Los Angeles about their quality with lower prices than their competitors and their success, to literally introduce their brand.

TACTICS
Because of the tough economic times, with many people unfortunately out of work, each time we opened a new Henry’s location (we’ve done three for them, so far), they had a Job Fair six weeks before. Around 1000 people would show up for around 100 jobs. We alerted the media that there would be huge lines and they could interview a wide range of people who used to be in another field but were now seeking employment at Henry’s. This opened the door for countless human-interest stories. It hit the media in a huge way. By getting in the news with the employment angle, we also got our other information out about Henry’s quality, lower prices, etc.

Then, for the actual store openings, we publicized that Henry’s would give away a free bag of pre-selected groceries to the first 200 people in line. People lined up in the middle of the night for a chance to get the free groceries. In addition, we are working with charities with all 32 stores and their managers, for extra community goodwill, which we are publicizing. We also publicize each time Henry’s nutritionist puts on a free seminar on various health topics, to keep the market chain in the news.

RESULTS
We received a tremendous amount of media coverage for each job fair and store opening. Several TV crews showed up each time, airing news about Henry’s opening, including KABC-TV, KNBC-TV, KCBS-TV, KTLA, KCAL and FOX-TV. The top Los Angeles all-news radio station, KNX (CBS), came at 4:00 a.m. to the first opening in Woodland Hills, to interview people in line, and then inside the store when it opened. A “live” report aired every hour from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. We got coverage in the local papers for each opening, including a leading story on the front page of the huge Daily News and other papers, as well as major TV newscasts and radio news shows. We also obtained online exposure and with Social Media, as well. All of the media coverage occurred three times, once for each opening.

All of these openings were hugely successful and Henry’s president told us that the Woodland Hills opening (our first for them) was the most successful opening they’ve had in their company’s history, and today, is still their highest-grossing store, due to the successful publicity launch we did for them… and Henry’s Farmers Market is now a recognizable brand in the Greater Los Angeles area, as they prepare to open additional locations.


Pharmaceutical Brand Awareness

AFFORDABLE QUALITY PHARMACEUTICALS and ST. PAUL BRANDS

OVERVIEW
Our client had a unique “rags to riches” story to tell. Over 27 years ago, our client was a young lady who had just graduated as the valedictorian from one of Vietnam’s most prestigious high schools and then became an instant refugee because of the country’s huge conflict in 1979. She and her family fled to America as “boat people.” Speaking no English and only “the language of numbers,” as she puts it, she ended up at the University of Minnesota’s School of Engineering, graduating in 1985 with a B.S. Degree. Eventually, her aunt in California, who was a pharmacist, approached her to open a pharmacy with her.

After getting her license, she eventually opened 18 pharmacies in nursing homes in five states and soon became involved with the drug wholesale and manufacturing business. She has since been very active with manufacturing drugs in Vietnam and selling them in the U.S. and Vietnam. Her company also buys drugs from U.S. manufacturers in large quantities and then re-packs them in smaller dosage-sizes and sells them to doctors, hospitals and pharmacies. She founded Affordable Quality Pharmaceuticals in Garden Grove, CA and later, a division called St. Paul Brands for various vitamins and supplements.

CHALLENGE
Now becoming a success, our client wanted to increase awareness of her company, Affordable Quality Pharmaceuticals, and also her St. Paul Brand of vitamins, supplements and other healthcare products, to ultimately increase sales.

TACTICS
We immediately developed features for the press about her unique story, highlighting her keen sense of business in the pharmaceutical industry. This gave us an excuse to mention her company, as well as the various products she developed for her brand. We also helped her get exposure for herself as a guest speaker at key industry events. In addition to getting her exposure in newspapers and magazines, as well as in online stories, we arranged interviews for her or one of her company’s key executives on local TV and radio shows.

RESULTS
We were able to increase exposure of her company a great deal, which led to her increase in business, including getting various contracts for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other types of agencies, and getting her more visibility. We arranged a major Wall Street Journal feature called “Immigrants Gain Edge Doing Business Back Home,” as well as a feature in the McClatchy Newspaper Group (the second largest newspaper group in the country) with such headlines as “Childhood Dream Comes True,” “Vietnamese-American Gives Back to Her Country,” and “Emigrant Bringing Affordable Medications to Vietnam.” She was honored by being named in the top 500 business women of the year, and as a result of seeing a national story about her, Governor Linda Lingel of Hawaii invited her to be a guest speaker at the prestigious Annual International Women’s Leadership Conference (which was previously hosted by MSNBC news anchor Connie Chung and the year before by Oprah Winfrey).

Our client told us we indeed helped her “bring affordable, quality pharmaceuticals” to as many people as possible and increase her sales.


New Packaging for an Old Favorite

MRS. CUBBISON’S PREPARED DRESSING AND STUFFING MIX

OVERVIEW
Mrs. Cubbison’s Prepared Dressing and Stuffing Mix, a 60-year client of ours, came out with a totally new, modern package. Mrs. Cubbison’s is the type of product that has been used for generations by grandmothers, mothers, and daughters, as part of the traditional in-home Thanksgiving meal. It has both an older and younger demographic. It is the Number One traditional stuffing mix for the Thanksgiving holidays in the West and selected markets throughout the country.

CHALLENGE
Despite the fact that several focus panels were conducted, indicating that the package was accepted by consumers, the concern was that older consumers, who are the core users of the product, might not recognize the new, modern box. Since this is a heavy holiday item, as opposed to a year-‘round item, the client was concerned about the effect on sales for the Thanksgiving period.

TACTICS
We implemented a concentrated communications program with the supermarket trade to introduce the new package and informed them of our complete promotional program to show that we were supporting it to the consumers. For the consumers, we had a very aggressive public relations program, with cooking demonstrations and interviews about the product on TV and radio, as well as in print and on the Internet, to compliment a saturation radio advertising program, all drawing attention to the fact that Mrs. Cubbison’s was the same product with a new look.

RESULTS
Despite the bad economy, the new package was accepted by the trade and consumers. Sales exceeded the previous season.


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