US premium pizza brand, American Flatbread has been unstoppable this year, boosting their user base, diversifying their target audience and expanding their reach, nationally across many US retailers. The key to their success is the love and care they put into each of their products, as their range offers ‘restaurant style’ dining from the comfort of your own home.
We couldn’t resist sitting down with the sensational, American Flatbread, to pick their brains on the direction of the industry, the challenges they’re currently facing and to find out how on earth they’ve managed to reach such heights during a period of intense recession. In this exclusive interview, hear from ProQuo’s Content Writer, Ruby Arenson and American Flatbread’s Director of Marketing, Allison Houle.
ProQuo: Thank you so much for meeting with us Allison. I can’t wait to find out more about American Flatbread’s fascinating brand journey. First, I’d love to know how your brand differentiates itself?
Allison: Our brand is different from other frozen pizza brands in the market, as it mimics a restaurant experience. A lot of the time with frozen pizza, you don’t expect high quality. That’s where we’ve come in to disrupt, as our pizza is premium. It’s handmade and wood-fired, and only uses fresh vegetables and homemade sauces. It also tastes delicious and our repeat rate proves this, as it’s almost at 50%!
ProQuo: That’s brilliant! And what would you say is your biggest challenge right now?
Allison: Gaining market share from our largest competitors is definitely a challenge. Our products are priced higher than our competitors because of the premium quality and it’s often challenging to get people in-store to recognize why we are priced above other brands.
ProQuo: How would you say your brand strategy combats this challenge?
Allison: We’re really focusing on the Empathy Driver as our key goal is to steal market share, so showing we understand our consumers is really important to us. Something that came to light this year through the platform was we were performing really well with men. Typically, we’ve believed our audience to be 90% female and have marketed more to women because of this. But when ProQuo told us males were scoring higher on our Drivers, we pivoted, adapting our communication strategies to focus on this audience, particularly on Instagram and Facebook. Our conversion rates amongst men have been phenomenal ever since and ‘male pizza lovers’ has become one of our top audiences.
ProQuo: That’s great to hear that ProQuo is helping you grow! How are you finding it?
Allison: I’ve been relying heavily on ProQuo for my monthly reports, to brief creative agencies and for everyday brand management. It gives a great holistic view of how our brand is performing at any given moment which is invaluable for briefing agencies. Whenever we meet with our content provider, we use the ProQuo data to identify which Drivers need the most attention, creating content around this to boost our scores.
We used ProQuo’s Guidance feature last month and have already adapted our customer experience due to its feedback. We’ve now introduced more personalization throughout our processes, and we can see it’s made a huge difference to consumers, helping us to engage with them on a deeper level.
ProQuo: And are there any actions you find easier now you have ProQuo?
Allison: It’s the real-time analysis that helps me the most. Typically, when you do creative shoots, results are 6-12 months down the pipeline. This isn’t always helpful because things change a lot in that time. But real-time analysis has enabled us to adapt and react to things almost immediately. This has impacted our business on a commercial level, and we’re closing off 2020 about 40% over the prior year, and 2021 is also starting off strong!
ProQuo makes buyer pitches so much easier. I can now confidently say, ‘I know my target audience is correct because we’re rising to the top in this segment on ProQuo’. Buyers are really impressed with our data, as it shows a clear correlation between marketing spend and impact. It’s helped us to gain traction with one of America’s largest retailers.
ProQuo: That’s so wonderful to hear! I’m keen to see if you used any other platforms before joining ProQuo?
Allison: In the past, we ran consumer research studies and focus groups, which gave us some insight into what was going on in that specific moment. But things change in real-time and without live data, like ProQuo, there’s no way brands can keep up. Take COVID-19. Consumer habits drastically shifted during this time, so even if we’d run a study in January 2020, it would look completely different by April. Once or twice a year dips will never be able to give brands the big picture. That’s why real-time analysis is so crucial.
What’s great about the platform is that it knows when people are responding emotionally and rationally. It knows if someone is flying through a questionnaire or if someone is reading into things too much. And that’s a game changer. Getting rid of irrelevant responses and focusing only on real consumer feedback has helped us to tap into our target audience on a much more intimate level.