Sonya David, Head of Strategy, Media at dentsu Singapore

3 strategies for QSR brands to try to win the battle for customer attention

These strategies can drive buzz and could lead to LTOs, new merchandise and drive loyalty.

With consumers always looking for something new, QSR brands need to innovate when trying to connect with their customers and doing so requires going beyond traditional new menu launches.

According to Sonya David, Head of Strategy, Media at dentsu Singapore, the recent go-to for brands right now are partnerships with media and gaming brands, creating secret menus, and gamified marketing strategies.

Sonya, together with her colleague Mohamed Salim, Head of Strategy, Media at dentsu Malaysia, will lead a speaking session at the upcoming QSR Media Asia Tabsquare Conference & Awards 2024 to talk about building engagement and creating ‘snackable’ content to keep consumers interested.

Ahead of the conference, QSR Media had a quick chat about what she’s seeing in the business landscape.

QSR Media: What are some of the interesting trends you've noticed in the past year that QSR leaders should keep an eye out for?

Sonya: In the last year, we have seen many QSR brands partner with media and gaming brands that have captured consumer interest, for eg Genshin Impact, to drive buzz and create news in markets. This could result in limited edition products, an outlet experience or much coveted merchandise bringing more new or occasional consumers to the brand.

One of the drivers of social buzz in QSR and the wider food industry was the use of 'secret menu items' to drive buzz on social media and in conversation. This is used by regular patrons to turn their regular consumption into social capital.

Gamified entertainment is another upcoming trend we expect to see more of QSR brands creating interactions that fans enjoy, as well as serving to drive sales. Technology-led innovations and experiences built around online gaming are working well in this area.

What has been the QSR industry's top challenge for the year and how should they tackle it?

As consumers tighten their wallets brand relationships shift to become more functional, which makes it harder to create long-term differentiation and brand love. While discounts help spike business in the short term, it doesn't help in the long run. The biggest challenge for marketers is fine-tuning the optimal mix of news, repeat orders and brand experiences that keep brands not just top of mind, but also the top choice. The success of branding activity needs to be assessed in the right time frame as its effect starts small & multiplies with time.

How do you think QSRs could maintain their competitive advantage in a quickly changing landscape? What specific insights do you want to leave the audience in your speaking/panel session?

QSR marketing like all good products is a recipe done right and scaled up for success. Marketers need the right mix of brand building, product promotion, and enticing deals to build value and brand for business growth and long-term impact.

For more information about the QSR Media Asia Tabsquare Conference & Awards 2024, please click this link here.

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