Talking personalisation with Burger King

David Murphy

Madeleine Dodd, Digital Growth Manager at Burger King, walks David Murphy through a recent campaign that saw great engagement by giving customers a good reason to share the date of their birthday.

DM: So Madeleine, with this campaign, you were trying to encourage your customers to share the date of their birthday with you, and in return, giving them a free Whopper or plant-based Whopper. It got off to a slow start, but things picked up when you tweaked it, and I’m looking at the numbers for the campaign here, a 55 per cent open rate, 22 per cent click-to-open rate and 10 per cent clickthrough rate, that generated an 800 per cent increase in the number of people sharing the date of their birthday with you compared to the pre-campaign period. This sounds like email, was it all email or were any other channels used?

MD: It did involve email, but also push and in-app messaging as well. With [customer engagement platform] Braze, we tend to use these three main channels, it gives us an opportunity to leverage all of them.

DM: So the percentages are impressive, but are there are figures you can share in terms of the number of orders or revenues generated?

MD: I can't say anything about orders and revenue specifically, but what I can tell you is that 60 per cent of those who engaged with the campaign and provide their birthday data then went on have a look at our menu. So while that obviously wasn't the direct aim of the campaign, it was great to see that customers did go and have a look around and go on to order.

DM: Okay, and then with each of the channels, could you walk me through the process, so I’m a Burger King customer, but you know nothing about me. You haven't got my age or anything like that. What was the process for collecting the data?

MD: With this particular campaign, it was born out of the fact that we had set live this birthday journey where we offered customers a free Whopper on their birthday, and we noticed that not many of our free Whoppers were being given out on people’s birthdays, which was a real shame. And there were a lot of customers that we didn’t have any data on who were missing out on this opportunity. In fact, digging into the data, I noticed that there were way over half of our customers who hadn't given us their date of birth, and that's also because we don't require it at sign up like a lot of other brands do. So it was then that I kind of scratched my head and thought, well, how can we ask for this data without doing it in a way which is, you know, very direct, and makes customers feel like they're not really getting anything in exchange for providing that information.

And that's where this campaign came from. It was quick, we saw the issue, we wanted to solve it quickly, and obviously, not only did it give us the great conversion rate that we saw of that 800 per cent increase in the number of people self-reporting their birthday, but we also had great engagement rates and it created a lot of noise on our social media channels as well, which was great to see.

DM: So you talked about sign up. So was it a case that somebody would walk into a Burger King restaurant and see a sign saying, if it's your birthday, we’ll give you a free Whopper or plant based Whopper, sign up online. And was that roughly what happened?

MD: No, we’re not advertising the Birthday Whopper in restaurant. It's very app-based, very mobile-based and web-based. This was exclusively a digital campaign, which ran on email, in-app and push and that's where customers were then educated about that birthday offer. There was also stuff about it on our website. But again, it wasn’t particularly clear from a customer's perspective that that's what they were going to get. They didn't even know that they could get this gift, so it was a great opportunity to educate them on that.

DM: Okay, and you say you noticed people weren't taking the offer up. Was it a question of, the campaign running for X number of weeks before you had that insight and then changed it? How long did it take to realise that you needed to tweak it?

MD: We normally allow a good couple of weeks of analysis post-launch to really understand if a campaign is performing as expected, obviously, there can be, you know, some random surges on other days, so we just really wanted to get a good overview of how it was performing. I think before we'd really looked into the data, I was just expecting a lot of these 'webhooks' from Braze to be firing out with the birthday Whoppers and it just wasn't the case. So then it's a case of saying, it’s a shame people aren't getting it, what can we do? Let's go and ask people to update their birthday in a fun way, and then we saw the results of this and then immediately that that uptake of webhooks going out was much higher every day.

DM: And was there any element of social sharing to this? “I just got a free Whopper, tell Burger King when it's your birthday and you can get yours” sort of thing.

MD: Exactly. We had a paid social post which ran around the same time, so that definitely would have driven some incremental results as well.

DM: So the data for the campaign came from within the app and emails. Looking at the app, do your customers have to create an account and sign in to use it?

MD: That’s right. Once you sign up, you're part of the loyalty programme and then you’re obviously exposed to all of our offers and rewards that you can get.

DM: And in terms of the data, if I sign up for the Burger King app today, what will they ask me for on that first open because I know Braze pretty well and I know they're very hot on not asking for too much personal data for the first time someone opens the app after downloading it.

MD: Yeah, ours is very, very straightforward for that exact reason. I think, when a customer’s coming into the app for the first time, from a customer perspective, there's nothing worse than being asked a million and one questions, and again, it comes back to that value exchange piece. It's like, okay, why am I giving you all of this data? What is the brand going to be using it for. We want to be very transparent about the way that we're using the data and it's just to make the experience more personalised. So when you're signing up, it's just your email, and you have a couple of optional fields. And then that's really just your first name and second name for validation purposes, and then you're in into the app. And then once you're going through your customer lifecycle as a new user, you're going through the onboarding process, we like to use in-app surveys, delivered through Braze, to start gathering customer preferences. What they like to see, what they don't like to see, what offers they enjoy, what their taste preferences are. And again, it's not in a direct way. It appears when they're in the app, but they have the option to click off it, they don't need to fill it in. But doing that, and a lot of customers do, helps us to understand more about them, it enriches that profiles and it means we can ultimately deliver a more tailored experience.

DM: And is the app a fairly transactional sort of thing? Am I only likely to pick up my phone and fire up the Burger King app when I want to order a burger? Is there any content around food, or other stuff, lifestyle content?

MD: It's a very value driven app, that's its goal. Of course there is content within the app. You can browse the menu. We have nice marketing cards in there, highlighting different offers, but it is extremely value-driven, that’s its main purpose.

DM: So this is one very successful campaign. Is there anything else in the pipeline? Birthdays are one thing, but I guess you could talk about anniversaries and other special days. Do you have any future plans for beyond birthdays now that you’ve seen how well this has worked?

MD: Yes definitely, as you said, I think an anniversary piece would work really well, or maybe we do it as a loyalty anniversary. But I really like what Spotify does with Spotify Wraps, because we have such a rich database now, and it’s definitely something we can leverage using Braze’s dynamic personalization features to deliver something to customers, which is interesting and tailored to them.  So that's definitely one we plan to look into. And I think another really important one for us is tailoring offers. I think it's such a polluted environment now, there’s a lot of value messaging out there from brands and from our competitors. And we're gathering all this data, the birthday campaign was a great example of that. In-app surveys are another one. And then it's how are we going to use that to make the experience for the customer as personal as possible. Maybe I'm someone that only redeems a Chicken Royale offer on a Thursday at 5pm, so I'm not interested in seeing your Whopper Wednesdays or your Meat-free Mondays. So for us it's about really working on our strategy to recognise those individual customer needs and differences and delivering those really hyper-personalised offers and messaging around that.

DM: And just going back to the app, how do people use it? Is it like in a physical restaurant to jump the queue? Or do you have a tie in with JustEat or Deliveroo for home deliveries. When someone places an order in the app, where do they tend to be?

MD: We have many different service options. So we have, obviously, customers that are in restaurant that have the app, and they can use it on our kiosks or they can go to one of the crew members and get their code at the front counter to redeem the offers that they wish to use. We also have click-and-collect, so that's obviously ordering directly through the app and then going into a restaurant to get it, both of which are very, very popular and obviously our customers enjoy that kind of seamless experience. We also do offer white label delivery, so that's our own delivery service provided by Deliveroo. So that means that people can access delivery-only offers from home which aren't necessarily available through our aggregators, Deliveroo, JustEat and UberEats. So there are loads of different types of service modes to cater for all different customer needs.