Sports marketing

How Denny’s connects with customers through social media, sports marketing and updated digital experiences

Restaurant chain Denny’s took the opportunity to feature student-athletes in an effort to continue to impact young diners while maintaining the momentum of their strong sports marketing game.

With all eyes soon turning to hoops in next month’s March Madness, Denny’s is teaming up with Stanford junior forward Fran Belibi as part of its ongoing efforts to highlight underrepresented athletes, as well as to celebrate the return of Denny’s Super Slam breakfast offer.

Denny’s launched a Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) program featuring student-athletes last fall, when it included football’s “often forgotten” offensive linemen in promoting the intercollegiate All -Brand pancake maker.

“Super Slam” Dunk To Engage Fans With NIL Partnership

Due to a change in NCAA guidelines and a number of state laws enacted in 2021, college student-athletes have been granted the right to receive payment from trademarks for the use of their name, image and likeness (NIL).

“Supporting student-athletes in the wake of NIL isn’t our first sports marketing rodeo, but we’re excited about this space,” said John Dillon, Denny’s brand manager. “For us, NIL offers are not limited to paying student-athletes. It’s about elevating underrepresented student-athletes and giving them the platform they deserve.

The NIL program gave the brand the opportunity to team up with Belibi, who is an NCAA women’s basketball champion and also has the distinction of being one of only eight women to ever land a slam dunk. in a college game – which makes a great connection to Denny’s Super Slam Meal.

In addition to the NIL deal with Belibi, Denny’s is also donating $25,000 to the Women’s Sports Foundation, an organization co-founded by tennis icon Billie Jean King.

Multi-channel strategy expands brand reach and exposure for athletes

“Fran is a role model student-athlete who shares our values ​​and has done a lot to generate excitement for women’s college basketball,” said Dillon.

Belibi dunked twice in matches last season and won the 2019 High School Slam Dunk contest. Some of his highlights have tens of thousands of views on YouTube. However, she will gain even more visibility thanks to the promotion of Denny’s.

Denny’s Social Leverage with Stanford hoops star Fran Belibi. Picture: Denny’s.

The Super Slam campaign airs nationally on television and radio, on Denny’s digital and social channels, as well as on the athlete’s social media.

Socially, Denny’s aims to connect with younger Gen Z consumers, while maintaining its presence with Gen Xers and baby boomers. Millennials are central to Denny’s strategy, according to Dillon.

Read more: Predictions 2022: Customer experience and digital experience

“Our social networks are designed to reflect the eclectic and offbeat conversations people have with friends and family in restaurants,” Dillon explained. “We’ve found our brand’s voice and role in feeding people’s souls to be very important, and when we say we love feeding people, we mean all people, regardless of background. ”

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Denny’s Marketing Efforts

“In order to be the American restaurant of today, we need to speak to the diverse groups of people that make up this country in a way that resonates both emotionally and culturally,” Dillon said. “Thus, we ensure that our internal marketing team and our partner agencies understand the importance of speaking directly to various segments by making diversity, equity and inclusion a business priority at all levels. organisation.”

He added: “At Denny’s, diversity, equity and inclusion are embedded in every part of our business, including our marketing team and our partners, who have done a tremendous job of telling our story to a multicultural audience. .

As part of their approach, Denny’s selects important causes to support through their brand, as well as through sponsorships. Denny’s was one of the sponsors of the Orange Blossom Classic, a bowling game between historically black colleges and universities that was brought back in 2021.

An innovative customer experience

Denny’s has also increased its CX in recent months. They have launched a new login experience for Denny’s Rewards members which allows users to save and edit account details and preferences.

Another new feature is a digital offers wallet, where customers can access rewards and coupons, all in one place. Experience and growth company Hathway helped launch the features, as well as the punchh loyalty and engagement platform.

“The pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital, and we just rolled out an all-new digital experience in September that included the relaunch of Dennys.com, Denny’s on Demand and the Denny’s mobile app,” Dillon said. “This seamless new digital experience gives our customers more convenient ways to enjoy America’s Diner, and it’s just the first major step in our mission to redefine how the modern American family dines together.”

He added, “In 2022, we are focused on building one-to-one relationships with our consumers to deliver a seamless and personalized customer experience, whether you’re sitting in one of our booths, stopping in for the pick up or order delivery. ”


About the Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, providing original analysis on the changing technology landscape of marketing. He interviewed leaders in technology and politics, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins to former Cisco CEO John Chambers and Vivek Kundra, named by Barack Obama as the nation’s first federal CIO. He is particularly interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the world of marketing as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “Theatre of Innovation” at Fintech Inn, Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades such as Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several book blogs. leading. He studied English at Fairfield University and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.