John Schnatter of Papa John's speaks to Erica Morris about building brand loyalty using everything from social media to March Madness
You've had some senior-level shifts this past year. How has that affected your business strategy?
Schnatter: I've been involved with Papa John's from the be- ginning. It was a natural fit for me to step into the role when [ex-CEO] Nigel Travis left last year. It hasn't so much changed my business strategy, but obviously as CEO, as opposed to being a spokesperson, my focus is honed. I'm not just an ambassador for our franchise, I'm responsible for its welfare.The franchise is active in social media. How has that strategy benefitted Papa John's?
Schnatter: We've been involved with Facebook for years now, while we're using our Twitter page on a daily basis. It's good customer relations.
For example, we recently had a Twitter user write a comment about an experience they had at one of our stores. They expressed they were unhappy with our service. One of our reps got in touch with them to offer a free pizza coupon and invite them to give us another try.How does your PR team support broader company efforts?
Schnatter: PR affects almost everything we do. It's about how we're communicating. We want to put our best foot forward with consumers and we have a strong PR team supporting that goal.
At the end of the day, if the customers don't like our brand, they're not going to stay with us. Our PR team stays on top of measuring our reputation and the sentiment about our brand, which is a big part of creating customer loyalty.Papa John's recently did a big marketing push with March Madness. How did that impact your PR strategy?
Schnatter: March Madness was a lot of fun because the fans enjoy it so much. We did a lot of advertising for the tournament, but we also did a lot of PR with giveaways and contests. We were also very visible on social networking sites during the games. Sports and pizza is an easy match. From a PR standpoint, we thought it made a lot of sense for us to get involved here.