Branding Strategy: Hooters of America
This project is for educational purposes only. Information included is hypothetical and not aligned with the views of the company.
For our purposes portions of this project revolve around the 2016 Super Bowl with the two teams being the New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers.
What is the company about?
Company slogan: Hooters Makes You Happy!
Hooters makes people happy. Their All-American Hooters Girls exist to provide genuine hospitality and exceptional service. Hooters strives to achieve this consistency throughout the company.
History of Hooters of America, LLC: About Us
Six businessmen with no prior restaurant experience created Hooters because they wanted a place “they couldn’t get kicked out of.” Hooters creates an atmosphere that allows its customers to come relax, hang out, and escape their busy lives. The restaurant combines good food, upbeat music, and attractive women to create an environment for all to feel welcome.
The first Hooters Restaurant opened in Clearwater, Florida in 1983. The beach-themed restaurants are casual and continue to feature many Hooters’ original concepts. Catering to sports fans and guests alike, Hooters is known for their spicy chicken wings and their globally recognized Hooters Girls.
The company has grown to more than 6,000 employees working in over 430 locations with 32 percent of Hooters management teams and corporate staff being female. Hooters has dealt with a lot of criticism for hiring only females as Hooters Girls and Hooters Girls Behind The Bar. However, the company does welcome men for other positions such as hosts, kitchen staff, and cleaning crew. In the U.S., the majority of Hooters restaurants are located in the eastern half of the country with most establishments in Texas and Florida.
Who is the target audience?
The most frequent clientele are males between 30 and 45 years of age, this is the primary market and the loyal base that Hooters aims to retain. Simply stated, men come to Hooters for the Hooters Girls. Every aspect of the Hooters brand is designed to entice. This includes the orange shorts that hug the hips and perfectly crease the lower body, the cleavage bearing tank tops, styled hair that is always worn down, glamour makeup, and high socks (although Hooters recently implemented lower socks to appear more modernized). For years, Hooters has used the combination of attractive females, sex appeal, greasy food, cold beer, and sports to lure middle aged men into their establishments.
Occupation: Business professionals, sports athletes, business owners, independent contractors, blue-collar workers.
Social Media: The primary market is limited in social media engagement. Most use Facebook to keep up with friends, admired Hooters Girls, and brands. The occasional few may follow Hooters on Facebook, but most limit their interaction with the Hooters brand to the HootClub App to receive monthly incentives. Engagement occurs primarily through smart phones, which can be utilized in the restaurant.
Family life: Married, married with family, divorced, and single.
Likes: Upbeat environment, beautiful women, hands free or hassle free service, reasonably priced food, and cheap beer. Most follow brands like the NFL, NCAA, MLB, UFC, Masters, and ESPN networks.
Dislikes: This market dislikes refined bars with stuffy and impersonal service.
Hobbies: Fishing, hunting, racing, recreational sports, golfing, and beers after work with the guys.
Secondary Market: Millennial Males 20s to 30s
Millennials have carried the stigma that Hooters was a bar stuck in the 80s with a dark vibe, leg warmers, and wings with a side of heart attack. This thought process began to shift with recent partnerships such as ESPN , UFC, and DraftKings. [supporting article]
Occupation: College students, part-time workers, and entry-level employees.
Social Media Engagement: They are very engaged in social media, especially sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Because this market is known for multitasking, engagement exists through smart phones. Members of this market would be most interested in the Facebook and Instagram pages, as most of the calendar photos and events are marketed through those avenues.
Likes: This group is drawn to upbeat environments, eclectic or hip music, sports bars, food priced on a budget, cheap beer, and entertainment.
Dislikes: Members of this market dislike the mundane. They seek entertainment at a value price.
Incentives: Hooters offers an opportunity for males in this age group to mingle with Hooters Girls of a similar age. The expanded late night appetizer menu and liquor bar allows for late night gatherings to watch sports or simply hang out. Hooters unique partnership with ESPN grants opportunities for tickets to NCAA tournament games, the Super Bowl, concerts, and other prime market events.
“We are very different from that tragically hip nightclub that people go to…you can come the way you want. It’s just fun. And people leave with a smile, and that’s a really good reason for us to exist.”
– Dave Henninger, Former Hooters CMO
- The original brand in the “breastaurant” industry.
- Has built a reputation since 1983.
- The chain offers higher food quality.
- Social media presence expands to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube. The brand is actively engaged on all platforms.
- There is excellent traditional media placement with ESPN during high-profile games.
- No cover charge for UFC fights.
- The number one restaurant with Budweiser in terms of sales.
- Consumers are looking for sports bars for football and basketball season.
- Hooters has ample opportunities to host draft parties due to sponsorship with ESPN and DraftKings.
- There are opportunities for integrated marketing in stores that are in proximity to stadiums, collegiate areas, festival markets, and sporting communities.
- Hooters can promote sports like horse racing, NASCAR, golf, and biking that other sports bars tend to neglect.
Why should Hooters utilize an IMC strategy?
Although Hooters is the original brand, they face major competition in their niche market. Twin Peaks, Tilted Kilt, Bikinis, and Kerr’s Wing House all threaten the market share of the “breastaurant” industry. In order to maintain their prominence in this segment, Hooters needs to be consistent and effective with their marketing strategies.
Hooters is constantly under a microscope due to the risqué nature of the brand. Therefore, it is imperative that this type of brand maintains a consistent identity. There are many false accounts that are often mistaken as a company website that do not portray the views or ideals of the company. According to Insight Marketing, integrated marketing “creates a cohesive identity for your business (your brand image) and a positioning that customers will recognize and relate to any content.” It is continued that, “this should extend beyond the traditional marketing to everything you do: your sales, customer service and customer retention.”
Because Hooters is a flagship brand, it is placed to a higher standard in terms of consistency and quality. Hooters patrons expect above standard customer service, a consistent taste of product, and a unique experience at each restaurant. Because of these standards, customers will additionally expect a marketing campaign that is synonymous with the brand, easily identified, and can be used as a quick resource for information. The purpose of integrated marketing will create a cohesive experience that starts with the corporate team, funnels into marketing channels, and it is extended into operations.
Top brands throughout the world are those who find success in integrated marketing. This is referenced through the Walt Disney Company, where guests can expect a magical experience at the theme parks, their resorts, through merchandise, or through their social media channels. Disney has achieved this through consistency in messaging, voice, consumer expectations, and proactive customer service.
In order to successfully identify a brand’s voice, a company must be aware of their purpose. Forbes recommends 10 questions that an executive team must answer before starting any type of marketing strategies.
What does your company do?
We exist to make others happy. The purpose of Hooters is to provide an oasis where guests can escape their problems through enjoying a beer, football game, great food, and exceptional customer service.
Why did you start (at) your company?
I started with Hooters because it is a unique brand that has existed since the 1980s. Hooters is consistent in their messaging and purpose. It is one of the few brands that places an emphasis on communication and fun.
Why do people visit your website?
To see the latest events at Hooters, including calendar shoots, Hooters Girl events, sporting events, and philanthropic work. This is also a primary source for restaurant menu information and a platform for online ordering.
Who are your customers?
Our primary clientele is the male market between 21-45 years old. However, we do open our doors to everyone from men, women, and children. Hooters is a comfortable environment to enjoy a beer with the boys or have family time.
Why do people choose your company over competitors?
The Hooters Girls! The Hooters Girls have always been the flagship of the Hooters brand. However, customer service and consistency are the driving factors behind our expansion and longevity within the industry.
What other brand voices do you admire?
We admire companies like Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, Disney, and Panera Bread. These are all companies that place a high value on customer service and consistency throughout the organization. These are trend leaders in their respective categories and are often included in the most recognized brands throughout the United States and the world.
If your brand were a person, how would you describe him or her?
If Hootie were real, he would be a huge sports fan. He would be dependable, charismatic, light hearted, and a prankster. He is knowledgeable about various subject matters, appreciates good quality, and is always up for a good time.
How do you want people to feel when they visit your website?
We want our guests to feel entertained. We want to provide a platform for fun, sports knowledge, great food, and exceptional hospitality. When guests visit our website, we want them to feel that they are amongst friends rather than viewing a corporate entity.
Can you describe your company in 3-5 words?
Delightfully Tacky Yet Unrefined.
What do you love about your job?
We exist to make people happy. An experience in any of our restaurants has the ability to turn around a negative day or further influence a positive perspective.
Since 1983, Hooters has established themselves as a leader in the hospitality industry. Their Hooters owl and iconic Hooters Girl image is recognized globally. It is clear that there is no need for Hooters to shape their identity, but there is the need to modernize it. The Hooters brand is synonymous with a playful fun that often edges socially and politically correct boundaries. They are “delightfully tacky yet unrefined.”
This thought process needs to consistent through their social media operations. Hooters possesses the tools, the platforms, and no shortage of pretty girls to fill their sites. It is now imperative that Hooters completes a successful IMC campaign to maintain their status as a top leader in the bar industry. In a competitive niche field and with numerous brands replicating the concept, there is always the risk of appearing outdated. Hooters biggest challenge will come through keeping a 80s brand relevant in a modern world.
This can be achieved through effective marketing at high-level events, increased consumer engagement, and interactive content. Hooters needs to up-play their partnerships with ESPN, Draft Kings, and relationship with commentator Jon Gruden (former Hooters cook). The social experience should lure consumers to #stepintoawesome.
You only wish your team looked this good!