How Red Lobster Can Take Advantage of the Beyoncé Bump

Redlobster_logocopia[1]A day before last week’s Superbowl, Beyoncé released her new song “Formation.” It included a line about Red Lobster – and sales at the seafood restaurant spiked!

This turned out to be great for the brand. They not only experienced a 33% rise in revenues over Superbowl Sunday last year, but their digital reputation was kept looking very good – at least for now.

We have worked with a number of US-based fast food chains and most do suffer from reputation challenges on an ongoing basis.

The most common challenges we see include:

– Poor reviews at specific locations
– Claims of poor quality or unhealthy food
– Issues relating to poor pay for restaurant workers

The biggest chains tend to get hit the hardest. McDonalds is almost always in the middle of issues relating to unhealthy food and unhealthy wages.

Chipotle is working through their issue with E. coli and regaining the trust of their previously devoted customers.

With these examples in mind – all chains, from Dunkin Donuts to Olive Garden, need to plan ahead.

This means having resources in place to help secure the brand’s online reputation.

Brands need to answer these questions:
1) Are our own web properties working to secure our online reputation?
2) When stakeholders search us in Google or Bing do they find updated, accurate, curated information? (Is the updated version of our logo appearing prominently?)
3) Are we leveraging our positive social media to our benefit?
4) Are there ways we could be ensuring that positive coverage is taking a front seat?
5) Is our Wikipedia presence where it should be?

A Beyoncé bounce may be just what a brand needs to clear the proverbial digital air, and, even better, to clear their brand reputation online. It certainly leads to an uptick in search interest.

Google trends shows that the highest level of search for Red Lobster in their history took place on February 7th!

red lobster trends

But that’s only part of the story. The interest in the company – and specifically the search volumes on Wikipedia – went absolutely through the roof –  peaking at 1,398 daily visitors.

red lobster wiki

The brand wasn’t ready – most fast food chains are doing almost nothing to track, analyze and impact their digital reputation. Their Wikipedia page is not optimal, their knowledge graph logo is outdated, and their social media channels are not appearing prominently.

But with the Beyoncé bounce they have a golden ticket. They now need to jump in and align their social media and website properties.

Regarding Wikipedia, Red Lobster needs to determine the types of content and coverage that is missing and then work with Wikipedia editors to ensure its creation and placement. Keeping in mind that Wikipedia is the go-to research tool for many (lazy?) publications, Wikipedia can often hold a key to how a brand’s story spreads.

We would advise Red Lobster to study their competitors; some of them, for example, have done some pretty smart things addressing Wikipedia opportunities, local search challenges, and digital brand alignment.

The bump has already helped drown out a negative Business Insider article, relegating it to page 2.

The extent to which Red Lobster can take advantage of the bump may well determine the path of their online reputation moving forward.