The Sonic Brand Loyalty Funnel
As the nation’s largest drive-in QSR serving nearly 3 million customers per day, Sonic Drive-In (NASDAQ: SONC) possessed a distinct understanding of its customer base by using traditional methods of tracking awareness and usage of the brand, but had no insights into what drove brand engagement, the true measure of customer loyalty. Sonic also sought to identify what drove customers to develop deeper levels of brand loyalty. This was particularly important to the company as it looked to make major investments in new markets while wanting to foster its existing customer base.
BSG worked closely with Sonic’s executive marketing team to develop a tool to measure and understand brand loyalty. The tool that was created, which we called a Brand Loyalty Funnel, moved past traditional measures of usage (the what) and provided an understanding of emotional attachment with the brand (the why). The funnel identified the key drivers and barriers toward deeper levels of brand engagement and helped pinpoint the messaging that led to higher visit frequency and sales.
By understanding the intricacies of its customer base, the Brand Loyalty Funnel helped Sonic navigate various new markets effectively and enhance its relationship with existing consumers. This systematic method for measuring and increasing brand loyalty has contributed to robust growth. Since the funnel’s May 2012 launch, Sonic has experienced a 192 percent surge in its market capitalization and achieved a 33 percent growth among its most loyal customer categories. Today, Sonic is one of the nation’s fastest growing QSRs.