Paul Holmes 10 Dec 2003 // 12:00AM GMT
Based in Fort Worth, Texas, with facilities in Australia and Asia, Daydots is the world’s leading manufacturer and distributor of food safety solutions. “Making the world a safer place to eat,” Daydots offers a wide array of food safety products and services including its original day-of-the-week food safety labels, specialized training courses and numerous tools and systems.
For 18 years, Daydots has made numerous food safety products for the industry; however, a majority of restaurants and foodservice establishments – Daydots’ key customers, were unaware of the breadth of products and services Daydots offered. Vollmer was retained to increase Daydots visibility and to educate its customers on all of its products and services
While Daydots is a well-known company within the foodservice industry, a primary challenge was to generate significant coverage with one, very limited medium – foodservice magazines, which has a limited number of publications with long lead times and monthly publication schedules. Additional challenges included the fact that current customers and the media were unaware that Daydots is more than just labels and has a full range of products to offer the industry; and customers were unaware that products could be purchased on the Daydots Web site, so traffic numbers were extremely low.
To overcome those challenges, Vollmer outlined key goals and objectives: increase awareness of all the service and products Daydots offers and position the company and executives as industry leaders and experts; drive Web traffic; and ultimately generate sales.
In order to distinguish Daydots as a leader in food safety solutions among its current and potential customers, as well as position Daydots executives as industry experts, Vollmer initiated a variety of activities to generate visibility through its key audiences. For each special activity, Vollmer developed a strategy and plan of activities for Daydots to outline all critical details.
After conducting informal research through contact with the National Restaurant Foundation (NRA), industry archives and online searches, it was determined that no agency, organization or company had ever conducted industry research to determine food safety management practices in foodservice operations in the United States.
In January 2002, Vollmer, together with Daydots’ non-profit division called the Daydots Foundation announced a competitive call for research that included a $5,000 award. Universities with foodservice education programs across the country were invited to submit proposals for research that would identify critical food safety practices in the United States. Proposals were received from 12 universities and Vollmer and Daydots selected Purdue University’s Department of Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management to conduct the study.
The study targeted foodservice managers with purchasing responsibly in the top 400 restaurant chains across America. To generate visibility, Vollmer distributed materials that announced the food safety study commissioned by Daydots, the world’s leader in food safety solutions; and announced the results of the study in which Daydots had solutions for.
The request for proposals, which was distributed to more than 200 top universities and foodservice programs, positioned Daydots as a leader within the education community and the future of the industry. The release of the study announcement and its results amounted in numerous trade publication articles. The project enhanced Daydots’ reputation as a knowledgeable and responsible industry leader; established the company as a source with a great depth of food safety products; and reinforced Daydots mission to “Make the world a safer place to eat.”
Vollmer used one of Daydots’ newest products, the dissolvable mini triangles, as the tool to enhance Daydots image as an exciting and interesting company that cared about its customers. Working with Daydots, Vollmer identified the new MINI Cooper automobile launched in 2002 by BMW, as the tie between the mini and a MINI. A sweepstakes targeting food industry workers was launched at the NRA Show; the largest, most comprehensive trade show focusing on the foodservice industry.
The visibility offered at the show made it a premier location for Daydots to announce the launch of its new dissolvable mini triangle labels, and the “See the Mini, Win a MINI” sweepstakes. The MINI was placed inside the Daydots booth to generate excitement and encourage industry professionals to sign up and win. Collateral materials also directed prospective contestants to submit their entries online at the Daydots Web site. To announce the sweepstakes and gain visibility, Vollmer conducted numerous activities, including:
· Media drop and material distribution to key media – the media drops included a toy MINI Cooper, set with green paper to match Daydots’ logo, as well as a Daydots press kit with key materials and an offer of interview opportunities at the show.
· Visibility at the NRA ‘Friends of the Foundation’ dinner - only days prior to the show, Vollmer worked closely with the NRA to use the dinner as another avenue for visibility. At the dinner, which included guests that were presidents and CEO’s of the top restaurants and chains in the country, Vollmer placed toy MINI Coopers and a Daydots collateral brochure at each place setting. The interest from the toys prompted an announcement that more was to be seen at the Daydots booth at the show.
· Media alerts were posted in the media room and were distributed on the show floor to any media attending the show.
The sweepstakes launch was a tremendous success. The MINI attracted more than 14,500 people to the Daydots booth at the NRA Show, generated 43 interviews with the media during the four-day show, increased Daydots visibility within the industry and generated a tremendous jump in Web site activity – more than 1,800 percent.
Vollmer researched the locations with the highest concentration of media outlets. The research indicated New York and Chicago as the primary cities. To generate interviews, Vollmer distributed media drops and a letter indicating an opportunity to speak with the Daydots CEO.
Meetings were scheduled with 15 editors including top industry publications, such as Nation’s Restaurant News, Restaurants & Institutions, Restaurant Business and Chain Leader magazines. The meetings allowed Daydots to meet all of the above objectives, including expert positioning, as well as generate numerous interviews on a variety of topics after the tour. The editors truly saw Daydots as an expert resource.
Outside of the key events and activities, Vollmer conducted ongoing media relations and visibility activities including: 1) press release distributions and media outreach to announce key product, employee and industry announcements; 2) research and maintenance of an extensive editorial calendar list; 3) development and distribution of bylined articles that were mass distributed to all key media that generated tremendous coverage; 4) ongoing speaking opportunity scheduling with universities across the country to generate attention with the future of the restaurant industry with restaurant and hospitality programs to provide students with an industry insider perspective on food safety solutions.
Coverage for ongoing activities generated numerous articles on a variety of topics and products, including several placements in top publications. Many of the articles also listed the Daydots Web site as a resource. This coverage helped show the breadth of Daydots services. Speaking at the universities positioned Daydots as an expert and offered the students a food safety resource after college.
Through all of the ongoing and key activities throughout the year, Daydots exposure was saturated within the foodservice industry. Media relations activities, including the research study, announcement of the sweepstakes, bylined articles, general releases and more generated:
· 116 articles in key foodservice publications
· More than 70 interviews
· More than $926,000 in publicity value
· More than 7 million impressions
The media tour placed Daydots in front of 15 editors to provide information and increased awareness of how Daydots can be used as an expert. The “See the MINI, Win a MINI” sweepstakes launch at the NRA Show brought more than 14,500 foodservice professionals inside the Daydots booth to allow employees to discuss Daydots as a company and the services and products it provides
Also at the NRA Show, the participation in the “Friends of the Foundation” dinner let Daydots be face-to-face with the top 200 foodservice executives.
The speaking opportunity campaign with the universities provided outreach not only the future of the restaurant industry, but also potentially future Daydots customers
The food safety research study positioned Daydots as an industry leader and expert, showed the depth of food safety products available and showed Daydots as a company that strives for its mission of “Making the world a safer place to eat.”
Through the media relations activities and with the visibility of the “See the Mini, Win a MINI” sweepstakes, Vollmer helped dramatically increase Web site traffic and visibility. Within the year, Web site traffic increased 1,800 percent.
Finally, from 2001 to 2002, Daydots overall sales increased 127 percent, even during a time when the economy – especially the restaurant industry – is still struggling. In addition, Daydots in 2002 surpassed its company sales goals by 105 percent.