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How Beautiful Brands figured out ROI for its Web strategy

This interview with David Rutkauskas, the founder, president and CEO of Beautiful Brands International, is a follow-up to Rutkauskas’ guest post last week. David Rutkauskas is responsible for the successful launch of worldwide, franchised brands including Camille’s Sidewalk Café and FreshBerry Frozen Yogurt Cafe. The goal of BBI is to develop profitable restaurant and retail concepts, package them beautifully and expand throughout the globe through franchising.

What results have you seen in building your digital brand strategy? We know that influence is just a part of the social Web strategy and that ROI is where it really counts in the restaurant business. With recent focus of our digital brand strategy and the help of digital branding expert Paul Barron and his company DigitalCoCo we have achieved some amazing things in a short amount of time. Just in the past 90 days Twitter has already yielded a growth of followers from 750 to more than 9,000 followers with FreshBerry and from a starting point of 900 with Camille’s to currently more than 12,000 followers. With Facebook and Twitter alone, FreshBerry and Camille’s has potential digital connection with more than 45,000 consumers.

So how does this equate into ROI? The real recipe has been the use of DigitalCoCo’s social mapping technology, which targets interests and demographics to match our brand demographics. Simply put our followers actually meet our brand’s customer targets. This is the reason our engagement and Web mentions have grown from less than 1400 per month to more than 21,000 digital mentions (Retweets, @mentions, Facebook posts and Web mentions) in just the past 90 days. That has equated to massive success in store openings and local store marketing.

Have you had any recent successes you can cite? Sure thing; recently just this past week we were hoping to get FreshBerry voted as the top “Where do you plan to buy your next cup of frozen yogurt?” in Orlando. The poll hosted by the Orlando Sentinel was one that was chocked full of tough local and national competitors and we had just opened our first unit in Orlando. With our targeting abilities we reached out to our Orlando customers on the social Web and just simply asked them to vote. The results were amazing; in just a few short days we soared to number one up against some heavy competition. What this tells us is that we have cracked the code for local store marketing to help our franchisees get noticed, level the playing field and bring people into the store.

What are your short-term goals? Our goals are aggressive but we plan to reach more than 75,000 consumers by year’s end and in 2011 we hope to top a quarter of a million digital connections to our targeted audience. Targeting is the real measure of success on the social Web. We have found that if you are talking to the right people you can get real “butts in seats results!”

How are you planning to jump to the next level for a digital brand presence? Like all things on the Web, content is key. Pushing out promotions and coupons was never in our plan. Providing quality and value to the lives of our customers is. With our strategic plan now in place we will be launching a new blog component that will provide some amazing new content that will fortify our connection with our customers and continue to build our digital connections. This is an amazing time in the restaurant business and we are so excited to be building something very special. As our partner Paul Barron states, it’s “The outside the four walls experience” that we want to create. This connects our customers with us even when they are not thinking about where they are going to have lunch or that next cup of delicious fro-yo.