TheFork: Australians want to discover new dining experiences

Dimmi undertakes context analysis to better understand Aussie diners, rebrands and launches B2B marketing campaign

Context consumer analysis, a B2B marketing initiative, rebranding and a fresh campaign are just some of the elements TheFork (formerly Dimmi) is using to drive Australian growth.

After nine years as a successful brand and becoming Australia’s leading online restaurant reservation platform, Dimmi, has rebranded to TheFork and launched its first ever TVC campaign.

Head of marketing at TheFork, Geraldine Connell, told CMO it was time to re-assess, take a close look at the marketplace, and ensure the platform was remain relevant to Australian diners. This involved its first foray into consumer research, as well as a B2B campaign and employee engagement, before the new brand was even launched to the Australian market last week.

“Dimmi’s been around for nearly nine years, and like with all brands at some point you need to re-assess, look at the marketplace and make sure you are remaining relevant,” Connell said.

“We were number one in the marketplace and we wanted to maintain that position and increase our appeal. With our sister company TheFork in Europe, which operates in 10 countries, we had the opportunity to see whether we could become TheFork, and leverage this for longer term growth of the brand and the business.”

As restaurants are critical to TheFork’s business, the rebrand started with a B2B communication campaign, with information, webinars, meetings and emails to ensure they were on board.

“On the consumer side, we knew we wanted to build anticipation and excitement, so we launched teasers to our own media channels, and after Christmas in the lead up to the launch, teasers were launched on media, social, the website, and via email, to build this,” Connell told CMO.

“We kicked into the launch on our owned media channels, and paid social, PR, and TV, which kicked in on the 10th and will go for the next four weeks.”

While the launch is in its infancy, Connell reports traffic to the new website, bookings, revenue and conversions are tracking very well. Consumer testing was undertaken prior to the launch, to ensure the brand would be recognised and well-received.

“We looked at the Australian diner; we’ve never done any consumer research before. We sent a questionnaire to 1000 diners, because we wanted to understand brand perceptions of Dimmi and TheFork, and understand what they key drivers were for restaurant bookings, and what the barriers to entry were as well, and what the impact of rebranding would have,” she explained.

“We also wanted to do Australian market context analysis, to better understand bringing a new brand into market place and position it for the Australian diner and customer, and to inform the things we needed to consider to build brand positioning and actual brand identity.

“We found people want to be in control and have the ability to book online, edit and cancel bookings, and to do that with ease. Australians are discoverers, and we want to unlock that desire to make new explorations into their dining experiences.

“We want to bring more discovery into TheFork. Whilst we are a tech platform, we are all about experiences.”

Moving beyond the launch, TheFork’s marketing strategy will include bringing the new positioning to life, encouraging everyday explorers with more content, as well as an expansion of the TV campaign and paid media.

“Content a big component, we want to offer this, without overdoing it, and make sure we deliver the right content customers are interested in. We will look into entry points, search terms, and develop content around that, then monitor engagement.

“We’ll be measuring brand and metrics, and also awareness, and leveraging all of our own media channels, PR, and also paid media.

“We didn’t rush into this, you’ve got to make sure got the building blocks right first. We needed to build from understanding, and ensure a clear purpose and what we stand for. Don’t underestimate the power of engaging people internally as well, to make sure they feel part of it.”

Operating as part of the TripAdvisor portfolio, the rebrand will see Dimmi join forces with its international equivalent, TheFork, with TheFork bookable in 10 European countries, over 50,000 restaurants in the network, 12 million reviews, and 19 million visits to the site each month.

The new look will include updating the colour palette to bring warmth to the brand, new photography which will be all about food discovery and the enjoyment of coming together for a meal, and new fonts to reflect the modern brand and bring a sense of discovery.

The rebrand is being undertaken across multiple customer touchpoints, including the brand’s first national TV campaign in Australia, as well as emails, social media and the bi-annual half price dining initiative, Restaurant Month.

 “Our new brand isn’t just a logo and name change; it will be at the heart of everything we do. Now part of TheFork, we’re more focused than ever on bringing diners and restaurants together for new dining discoveries,” explains Jared Chapman, managing director.

“The introduction of our new brand in Australia reflects the success of the business to date and our exciting vision for the future. We’re committed to helping restaurateurs build their businesses by attracting new customers, digitally managing their diaries and retaining existing clientele.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu 

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