Dolly Parton Might Present How Harmonized Celeb Partnerships Can Be
Model-celebrity partnerships return generations, with combined outcomes. Right here’s why Dolly Parton’s increasing bond with Cracker Barrel is prone to be extra rewarding for each.
By Jenn McMillen, CLMP™ Founder and Chief Accelerant of Incendio
Dolly needs a rockin’ good time. And, being Dolly, she needs you to have one, too.
By extending its ongoing relationship with Dolly Parton to its just lately launched Cracker Barrel Rewards program, the down-home chain is perhaps hoping to place its rivals over a barrel. Few celebs are as effectively embraced as Parton, no matter musical tastes and demographics.
Nonetheless, celebrity-brand partnerships include well-documented threat. The meltdown of the Adidas-Ye (previously Kanye West) partnership in October 2022, following the rapper’s anti-Semitic remarks, is only one latest instance. Adidas in March reported a $540 million fourth-quarter loss, due partially to its incapacity to promote his Yeezy-branded merchandise, NPR reported.
Whats up Dolly!
Such a debacle is unlikely with Parton, which is partly why Cracker Barrel companions together with her.
“A world icon like Dolly Parton, effectively, she has this innate capacity to unite folks together with her music; she is adored and revered by such a various viewers spanning folks of all totally different backgrounds and walks of life,” Amy Barnett, vp of promoting, loyalty and digital expertise at Cracker Barrel, wrote in an e-mail interview. “That have and feeling is precisely what we intention to emulate.”
It helps, she added, that their relationship spans so a few years.
Cracker Barrel has been partnering with Parton since 2009, in collaboration together with her musical releases. Making her the face of its “Rewards That Rock” marketing campaign to advertise its loyalty program, launched in September, was fortuitous. Her album “Rockstar” additionally just lately dropped. As a part of the tie-in, program members might enter to win one in every of 667 Dolly Rockin’ Chairs, co-designed with Parton.
In mid-November, Cracker Barrel shops will start to hold Dolly Rockstar merchandise, together with the CD, t-shirts, and hats.
How Cracker Barrel Dolls Up Loyalty
Early on, Cracker Barrel’s loyalty group made “a number of deliberate concerns” when designing Cracker Barrel Rewards, Barnett mentioned. It carried out a number of rounds of qualitative and quantitative analysis, from what to call to this system to analyzing the bottom assemble of a currency-based vs. non-currency-based program.
“First, we made the dedication that our program should add worth to every visitor’s expertise, and it should provide flexibility. And second, the concept with Cracker Barrel Rewards is to construct on the points of the model that our visitors already know and love – and ship extra,” she mentioned. For this reason the corporate constructed this system round its widespread peg board sport; a staple of the Cracker Barrel expertise.
As for making Dolly Parton the face of this system, Barnett mentioned the first goal was to generate mass shopper consciousness. However there are historic, cultural tie-ins that ensured a very good partnership as effectively: Cracker Barrel was based in Lebanon, Tennessee, simply miles exterior Nashville, so music has lengthy been a part of the model expertise. Music, like gathering on the desk, is “a really highly effective supply for folks to hook up with each other on a deeper degree,” she mentioned.
Authenticity additionally should come to the desk, and Parton has authenticity in spades. Cracker Barrel’s partnership together with her resonates with Cracker Barrel visitors, she continued.
Doing The ‘Sound’ Examine
Even a Parton partnership might have hiccups. So earlier than launching Cracker Barrel Rewards in September, the corporate piloted this system with its staff, staging a rollout in Might and June. It used their suggestions to tweak and regulate.
The participation hasn’t stopped. Cracker Barrel staff can proceed to take part in this system as members. This helped guarantee their engagement in this system early on.
So far as how non-employee members are responding, Barnett mentioned it’s too quickly to quantify. However she mentioned the corporate is seeing “directional behavioral variations between members and non-members.”
There have been glitches, too. Cracker Barrel Rewards is like several massive, “new technology-oriented” program: There are “kinks to work by way of and people are prioritized and addressed as they happen to maintain the expertise each seamless and enjoyable,” Barnett mentioned. The corporate is, for instance, prioritizing backlog points (this creator couldn’t get her factors when utilizing each a present card and money to pay the verify.)
Sage Recommendation From The Barrel
Requested what recommendation she’d give any firm constructing a rewards program, Barnett, who constructed a profession in loyalty strategizing, gives 4:
- Put “care” entrance and middle. Cracker Barrel’s outlined mission is “Pleasing Folks,” so the weather of its rewards program needed to adhere to that. The tone and language of this system, for instance, is structured communicate to its clients in a extra “personable, one-on-one method” so members really feel cared for and valued.
- Be a very good listener, and hum alongside. Earlier than constructing a rewards program, corporations ought to be 100% sure of what their clients need, by giving them the chance categorical it, after which constructing the initiative round that. As soon as it will get traction, this system’s insights function a instrument to answer extra detailed suggestions.
- Make it a legend, however not a monster. In relation to partaking reward members, greater isn’t at all times higher. Efficient rewards applications aren’t sophisticated; they merely ship what a model’s clients worth. Make it easy, versatile, and designed to satisfy their wants and preferences.
- Get full firm buy-in. Loyalty applications might function out of the advertising division, however they require assist from the board of administrators all the way down to the sector groups to supply constantly and reliably. Cracker Barrel’s large-scale loyalty initiative wouldn’t have been doable with out common alignment throughout all of its stakeholders, Barnett mentioned.
Make It With Coronary heart, 9-to-5 And Eternally
Lastly, a loyalty program ought to be trusted, which the above 4 components and the Dolly Parton partnership assist. Everybody acknowledges Dolly’s voice, however many love her extra for her kindness and honesty.
In actual fact, Cracker Barrel should stay in concord with Parton’s model as a lot as she with it. And that could be the Ye-proof key to this partnership.
This text initially appeared in Forbes.
Forbes.com retail contributor Jenn McMillen is nationally famend because the architect of GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards, and is Founder and Chief Accelerant of Incendio, a agency that builds and fixes advertising, shopper engagement, loyalty and CRM applications. Incendio gives a nimble, versatile and technology-agnostic strategy with out the big-agency price construction and is a trusted accomplice of a number of the greatest manufacturers within the U.S.