Thursday, July 22, 2021

White Castle 100 Years of Customer Relevance


How long has your company been in business? I bet for most of you it has not been 100 years?  You don’t have to be the largest company in your niche to be successful, but you do have to stay relevant according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions. 

Too stay relevant you must first understand your customer, needs, wants, and taste if you are in the food business and there is no company in the United States that is better at understanding their customers and the difference between their customers and their competitors’ customers.  Even more important the team at White Castle understands how to drive new electricity into the brand with relevant messaging.

So, in honor of its 100th birthday this year, White Castle is ramping up its brand visibility with fun new merchandise made in partnership with other well-known and popular brands. It’s White Castle’s boldest step yet into co-branded activations that really dive into its history and culture. You can do that when you know who your primary and secondary customers are according to Johnson.

In case you did not know, White Castle, has long had an online shop, House of Crave, selling everything from socks and aprons to water bottles and beanies. And White Castle has partnered with the celebrated New York City design house TELFAR to create several expressions of its team member uniforms, including a special collection for its 100th birthday.

However, this new collaboration is  with companies like PUMAFunkoDGK and others that are helping to bring the Home of the Original Slider to life for Cravers in new and unique ways.

Lynn Blashford, chief marketing officer at White Castle, stated, “Their products really tap into the essence of White Castle,” said. “We’re such a one-a-kind American brand, and thanks to these new partnerships, our Cravers can engage with our brand in one-of-a-kind ways.”

So, global sports company icon PUMA created a collection of sneakers and clothing honoring White Castle. The PUMA x White Castle collection features two footwear styles: the classic PUMA Suede and the Future Rider. Both silhouettes boast White Castle’s familiar blue-and-white color palette with striking blue accents, bright pops of orange, co-branded detailing, including images of the famous Castle, and contrast stitching for a fresh, new look.

The White Castle collection, which also includes a hoodie, shorts, and various co-branded graphic T-shirts, will launch June 25 at, at PUMA’s flagship store in New York City, and in-store and online at the Foot Locker family of stores (Foot Locker, Champs, Footaction and Eastbay). An additional PUMA x White Castle collection will be released this fall.

White Castle also partnered with Funko to create the “Pop! White Castle Slider,” a vinyl figurine of a Slider in the classic White Castle box. Funko is a pop culture consumer products company that designs, sources and distributes licensed pop culture products, including vinyl figures, action toys, plush apparel, board games, housewares and accessories. The White Castle Slider figurine is part of Funko’s “Foodies” line, which features other popular food brands.

DGK, an American company producing skateboards and related apparel, is introducing a new line of products in conjunction with White Castle. It will launch late this summer.

White Castle is working with a host of other brands, as well, to develop more White Castle-inspired merchandise. The family-owned business has teamed up with Brandgenuity, its exclusive licensing agency, to make brand partnerships and collaborations a priority for its 100th birthday.

“We’re taking our brand partnerships to the next level with these and other activations,” Blashford said. “What better way to launch our second century in business than by feeding the souls of new and existing Cravers with distinctive new merchandise?” How are you creating new electricity?

According to Johnson, “Brand relevance is in part driven with innovation in new food products in combination with new avenues of distribution all of which are the platform for the new electricity.”  That said, what are you waiting for?

Johnson stated “that in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply and includes such things as fresh foods, developing brands, unique urban clothing, grocerant positioning, Fresh food messaging, autonomous delivery, cashier-less retail, plates, glasses, cash-less payments, digital hand-held marketing.

All retailers to survive the next generation of retail must embrace the artificial intelligence revolution while simultaneously embracing fresh food that is portable, fresh, with differentiation that is familiar not different.

Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a new menu product segment and brand and menu integration strategy.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit us on our social media sites by clicking one of the following links: Facebook,  LinkedIn, or Twitter

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