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Using PR to Shift Brand Perception of This Pasta Kitchen

SUD, one of Manchester’s heritage pasta kitchens, needed to communicate its rebrand and shift brand perception. 

The first restaurant initially opened in Altrincham in 2015 under the name of Sugo Pasta Kitchen, with multiple sites in Greater Manchester. After a period of change, audiences were sharing frustrations online, and while the brand remained popular, social sentiment was deteriorating. To draw a line under the changes and begin the next chapter of the business, the pasta kitchen announced a rebrand and needed comms support in order to: 

 

Objectives

  • Communicate the reasoning behind the closure of SUD in a way which audiences could easily understand
  • To launch the new brand, Rigatoni’s, changing brand perception through strategic comms & partnerships
  • To drive bookings during the launch period, using our network of media and local influencers

What we did.

Due to previous changes within the business, changing the concept came with a risk of losing customers who were fans of the former brand. Because of this, we needed to introduce Rigatoni’s in a simple, easy to understand way, and focus on building trusted brand advocates in order to shift consumers’ brand perception. 

To kick off the campaign, we worked with the Rigatoni’s team to help them establish their tone of voice which would be used across all communications, including social media, press materials & CRM moving forward. 

In order to support the plans for scalability in the future, and to differentiate from its predecessor, we defined the brand personality & language as more relaxed, simple and consistent to build trust with audiences. 

With the new tone of voice in mind, we crafted several media materials to communicate the closure of SUD and the opening of Rigatoni’s to the public. We shifted the focus from the change of brand, to the quality of food, and offering, and reminded audiences that there was a human team behind the business. 

Following the initial announcement we had immense interest from local, trade and broadcast media titles to know more about Rigatoni’s. Off the back of our activity, we generated 59 pieces of press coverage talking about the new opening including key pieces in Manchester Evening News, MCR Finest and The Manc, with a national piece due to land in Olive Magazine, this April. 

As part of launch activity, we invited local press to a media preview with all titles eager to be the first to view the venue including Manchester’s Finest, Eat MCR and The Manc. Each media title had the chance to try a variety of delicious items from the menu and speak to the founders about the recent changes. As a result, we saw over 20 pieces of social, online and broadcast coverage go live, generating an estimated reach of 46M across all channels including City Life Manchester, Secret Manchster and Eat MCR

To keep momentum going, we invited local foodie, lifestyle and family content creators into the venue to try the menu for themselves, which generated 67 pieces of coverage. This included foodie content creator Only Scrans, which generated 4.1K likes and over 282K views. Through these strategic invites we were able to help shape the messaging surrounding the new venue including the accessibility of the menu, the family offering and the great value for money.

To showcase the new brand, the team behind Rigatoni’s started new social media accounts at the start of our campaign, and from launching the brand to the venue opening, the account grew to almost 14K followers, with spikes in engagement and followers around each press announcement and piece of activity. 

As a result of the campaign, we successfully saw brand perception shift as the public started to visit the venue with a better understanding of why the switch to Rigatoni’s was essential for the business. 

Additionally, when the doors opened, the focus switched from the branding to the amazing food on offer.

Throughout the campaign, we saw distinct changes in social sentiment – with more support coming through from fans once they had tried the new menu

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