User behavior is, of course, affected by major changes in the world, like the economic landscape taking a dip due to a global pandemic. For COBS Bread, this meant rapidly and thoughtfully adapting marketing strategies to better serve their audience. It was important for them to ensure that they were getting the right message to the right people. This strategy helped to bring stable, economic choices to people during an unstable time in the form of franchising and helped to deliver useful information to consumers. 

COBS Bread Franchise: 2020 pivots due to COVID-19

man and women baker in bread shopDespite a shaky economy — users are less likely to invest during unstable periods — COBS Bread has been seeing continuous momentum in franchising inquiries. 

Part of this is due to pivoting the COBS Bread franchise messaging. Previously, this messaging had focused on the theme “Start Something Good” which involved giving back to the local communities, being an award-winning and experienced franchise, as well as the profit and revenue expected as a bakery owner. While these messages are still important, we shifted the communication. We wanted the focus to be on COBS Breads’ sustainability as a franchise as this is what the consumer ultimately needed at this time. 

The pandemic caused consumer values to shift dramatically — and we shifted with it. Positioning COBS Bread as a business that provides an essential product (bread, and incredible bread at that), reframed the space they held in a consumers’ mind. This messaging positioned owning a COBS Bread Franchise as a secure, long-term investment opportunity. 

Additionally, a shift in keyword targeting was necessary to adapt to the current landscape. By tailoring longtail keywords, it was possible to reach those searching for business and local investment opportunities.

women holding a basket of breadGiven the new circumstances, we expanded targeting across channels for further prospecting and segmented custom audiences. Separating audiences from pre-COVID and post-COVID users with different needs. This allowed us to hone in on users who were not only coming from hospitality or managerial backgrounds but those also actively looking for long-term investment opportunities.

Our team fostered close communication by creating a feedback loop with the COBS Bread team. This was to better understand the quality of leads coming through. With this understanding, we were able to make the adjustments needed to further improve. As a result of these learnings, we placed more weight on the mid-to-bottom funnel strategies.

COBS Bread Franchise: January 2020 to October 2020 results

  • 17% increase in total leads YOY (year-over-year) 
  • 16% increase in total applications YOY
  • 44% decrease in CPA (cost-per-action)

COBS Bread Consumer: 2020 pivots due to COVID-19

sunflower flax breadAside from franchise-specific marketing, COVID-19 also influenced our consumer marketing strategies. 

At the start of the pandemic, we paused our previous campaign messaging immediately. Shifting to “we are open, we are safe, we are here for you” messaging with an emphasis on online ordering through Uber Eats allowed us to answer our customers’ questions before they were asked and appeal to them emotionally. During an uncertain time, people gravitated towards safety and security. 

This messaging ran for 6-8 weeks before we moved back to product messaging. The call-to-action (CTA) used pivoted towards ordering online or visiting your nearest bakery. The CTA served to inform customers of the options they had for getting COBS Bread goods.

Most metrics (e.g. digital CPA, promotional sales, and total sales) have seen strong YOY and month-over-month performance, despite large changes to consumer behavior.

COBS Bread Consumer: January 2020 to October 2020 results

  • Average cost per-bakery-search click and average cost-per-store visit decreased by 75% during COVID-19. Throughout COVID-19, numbers have remained consistent.
  • Average sales increased significantly during COVID-19 compared to pre-COVID-19, remaining strong throughout. Product sales and total sales surpassed YOY goals in each campaign.

In addition to the success of online delivery methods (currently, COBS Bread uses Uber Eats), COBS Bread is also launching their click-to-collect ordering system. In trial phases currently, it is predicted to be rolled out in time for the Holidays. The click-to-collect ordering system will act as a faster and safer option for ordering and picking up COBS Bread goods. 

Knowledge is pivoting-power

Keeping an eye on the constantly and rapidly changing landscape is important. It gives us the knowledge needed to pivot strategies for our clients. Jumping on opportunities during these difficult times means we can not only maintain, but improve the performance of our clients’ strategies.