For the past decade, Florida has seen a steady influx of companies from Puerto Rico expanding to the mainland. The outcome can be discouraging for some: Approximately eight out of 10 companies do not make it in the new market. There is a myriad of reasons for this but in a nutshell, some brands simply may not translate to the U.S. market, even heavily Hispanic ones.
When El Meson Sandwiches -the largest Puerto Rican restaurant chain- approached Eleven 11 Communications to safeguard the cross-cultural taste and service excellence of the brand, and to duplicate its success in Central Florida, we developed a strategic plan focused on brand awareness and increased demand. Moreover, success demanded for the brand to expand beyond the Hispanic market into the general market.
Research & Strategy
Secondary research shows that to successfully cross over, brands must adapt, not transform. Becoming something the organization is not and has never been is a recipe for disaster. To validate this information, a market research was conducted specifically targeting our top three demographics: Puerto Ricans, US Hispanics and the general market.
The analysis of the findings resulted in the development of a communications and marketing plan focused on:
- Community Outreach: We developed a hyperlocalcampaign partnering up with schools and building relationships with local public and private organizations, such as Track Shack and The Crayola Experience. Through promotional activities with these companies (coupons ad discounts) Meson saw a surge in sales across its Central Florida stores.
- Advertising: Strategic media buys were executed, targeting key demographic groups.
- Public Relations: Eleven 11 built and leveraged its relationships with local media, food editors, bloggers and foodies, to promote the client. This included a mix of organic and paid media.
During 2017, El Meson Sandwiches was positively reviewed by the food industry’s top publication, Nation’s Restaurant News, received the visit of Florida’s Governor Rick Scott, was designated ‘Partner of the Year’ by Osceola County Public Schools, and appeared on the cover of Food & Drink Magazine. It was also featured in many local media outlets, like the Orlando Business Journal, Orlando City Magazine and FOX news.
Our PR efforts also extended to the Puerto Rico market, resulting in coverage in the island’s main newspaper, El Nuevo Día, Caribbean Business and Wapa TV, among others.
El Meson Sandwiches reaped more than $100k in measured earned media coverage generated by Eleven 11, including 78 media mentions and an audience reach of 125 million consumers.