RaceTrac, the South’s premier gas station, has been on an expansion track. In 2019, the Atlanta-based company prepared to open its first Nashville area store. As RaceTrac’s agency partner, Brandware collaborated with the corporate team to develop and execute a launch event that would introduce area consumers to the brand as well as its “Whatever Gets You Going” food and beverage offers.
Declining local earned media opportunities, a strong competitive brand presence and low RaceTrac brand awareness in the new Nashville market, meant changing the way RaceTrac traditionally signaled its arrival in a new area.
The Brandware Approach
A hyper-local influencer strategy featuring individuals who matched RaceTrac’s diverse customer profiles was the backbone of the launch. Identifying individuals with authentic enthusiasm for the RaceTrac brand as well as shared target customer interests required digital science, interview skills and good-old-fashioned legwork. Among selected influencer partners were a local TV personality, a local news and entertainment page writer, and – true to Nashville’s roots – a local singer/songwriter.
Brandware also used existing relationships to engage personalities already widely known in the market, including the Tennessee Titans mascot and team cheerleaders. We broadened the reach with tactics such as an on-site radio remote and a Mayor-led ribbon-cutting. To draw new customers, promotions ranged from food and beverage offers for the first 500 guests and RaceTrac gift card giveaways to “Free for a Year” contests for key like RaceTrac products, such as Crazy Good Coffee and Swirl World Froyo.
Our goal wasn’t just a one-off, buzz-producing event, but a fun and engaging experience for both influencer and consumer participants that would yield digital content well after the grand opening.
A sample of success metrics included influencer reach of 334.9K in three narrowly targeted markets. Influencer-created content produced more than 147K impressions on social media, ranging from engaging Instagram Stories to promoted giveaway posts.
One promoted Instagram giveaway post hosted by @nashvilletn targeted local residents in the store’s county and gained 104,500 paid impressions. The post received 1,225 total engagements and was shared in a newsletter received by 12K subscribers.
Based on these results, RaceTrac continues its relationship with Nashville-based influencers as other stores open in the area. Despite the onset of COVID-19 in the months following the debut store’s launch, this program continues to yield measurably successful results, including a follow-up campaign engaging audiences at nearby Middle Tennessee University.