Because of their spending power and increasing proportionality of the American population, Hispanics have gotten the attention of many pizza executives, some of whom have tried opening relevant concepts. But nobody can claim a better relation with that demographic than rapidly expanding Pizza Patron, which opened in new markets in 2009 and posted consecutive gains each quarter of last year.
How do you top that kind of success? For Pizza Patron executives, that comes by innovating to get even closer and more personal with your audience. That doesn't mean Facebook, at least in this context.
The company is capitalizing on its reputation as the go-to Latin pizza brand in 2010 by debuting in-store displays that highlight the brand's monthly paquetazo promotions. President Guillermo Estrada said the promotions might highlight lesser-known or new flavors, drive lunch traffic or push combos deals. But they do even more than that for customer relations: Their visual framework resonates emotionally with Hispanics.
"The idea behind it is that it's a mainstream message," said Andrew Gamm, director of brand development for Pizza Patron. "But it's designed inside a framework that's very distinctly Latino. Paquetazo or 'big deal' is a Spanish phrase that non-Hispanics wouldn't be familiar with; but with the Hispanic audience, it resonates strongly."
The displays will further that theme of solidarity by highlighting a specific celebration each month relevant to the Latin American calendar. January's highlight was Dia de los Reyes Magos, the celebration of the three wise kings.
"The idea is to promote discussion for people not familiar with those celebrations—but for our core who is, it invites warm feelings of home, and (times) they are used to celebrating," said Gamm.
Event-based marketing seems to comprise a large chunk of Pizza Patron's new initiatives. They're also rolling out a series of five national promotions over the course of 2010. Those will capitalize on popular Hispanic events, including the World Cup, for which they're partnering with Pepsi for sweepstakes offerings, and the 200th anniversary of Mexico's Independence in September.
"We just want to continue supporting the mission statement: community and commitment to value," said Estrada. "It's a tough time for everyone and we want to get closer to customers."