Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
Australia’s Retail Food Group (RFG) has built an in-house digital team and its first social media command centre as part of efforts to grow its brands online.
RFG Digital Innovations marketing manager, Brent Lupton, said the company’s investment in the digital space was part of its strategy to modern its brand systems and ensure they remain relevant. Its eight brands are Donut King, Michel’s patisserie, Crust, The Coffee Guy, BB’s, Brumby’s Bakery, Pizza Capers and Esquires Coffee.
The in-house digital team sees Lupton working in partnership with RFG’s digital innovations IT manager in overseeing a team of seven that also includes project management and design skills. Previously, all digital efforts were undertaken by the individual brand’s external agency and vary depending on the brand’s size and level of engagement online.
The changes will allow each brand to more effectively include digital elements in their marketing campaign and respond more quickly to the market, Lupton said. Seven of RFG’s brands currently use social media to interact with 375,000 fans on a daily basis.
“Today’s consumers are more technology-minded than ever before and online, particularly social media, is often the first place they’ll go to connect with a brand,” Lupton said. “As Australia’s largest multi-food franchise operators, it’s important for RFG to have a comprehensive digital offering to ensure we maximise the huge potential this platform offers businesses in today’s consumer-driven world.”
The seven-day command centre will run from 9am-10pm and focus on responding to customer concerns and questions via social media channels in real-time. RFG has hired a full-time coordinator to operate the centre and develop content calendars, along with two after-hours staff to cover peak evening times when customers are both ordering dinner and on social media sites.
RFG declined to put a dollar figure on the cost of the investment. At this stage, no additional technology or platforms have been introduced, but RFG corporate communications manager, Sarah Broad, told CMO it will look to bring on social media management platforms as demand increases across its brands.