Launching LEON, the Naturally Fast Food brand, into the Irish market
In 2018, The Irish Times ran their first ever sustainability survey and though they found numerous positive results, one of the key areas they found lacking was the fast food sector, citing the industry as a “black spot” on the Irish sustainable journey. LEON, the Naturally Fast Food brand, were set to launch in the Irish market less than six months after these results were published and the conversation around sustainability was only one challenge they would face in the Irish market.
The concept of fast food not only summons up the idea of unsustainability, but also an unhealthy diet made from unnatural, processed food. Waterford native, Stuart Fitzgerald, MD of LEON Ireland was determined to shatter these preconceptions around the fast food industry and show that LEON could offer fast, healthy options and do it in a sustainable way. Legacy Communications worked with the LEON Ireland team to create a PR strategy that highlighted the point of difference the brand would offer Irish food fans.
The Legacy plan for LEON included educational press stories that had mass appeal, engaging with targeted influencers to produce authentic testimonials and creating on-brand content ahead of a “big bang” launch event.
To launch the brand into the public’s awareness, Legacy highlighted the generation of 600 jobs in the Irish market, some team profiling and emphasised the free food launch event to create media buzz. Legacy generated approximately 100 traditional media mentions during the campaign across print, online and broadcast media including key national targets such as RTE Six One News.
Ipsos MRBI’s annual Trust in the Professions Survey found that, in Ireland, only 10pc of people trust influencers. Legacy were sure to only engage influencers who would value LEON’s sustainability efforts and appreciate their offering of vegan, vegetarian and gluten free menu options. Legacy created an influencer Health Check to identify the best targets. Legacy apply this eight-step vetting system to potential influencer partners for brands to ensure credibility, brand and audience relevancy and trustworthiness before working together.
Legacy and the LEON team brought the targeted bloggers and media on a FAM Trip to London to experience the LEON menu ahead of launch, meet the UK team and explore the LEON HQ wellness space, The Kwoon. The FAM Trip guests were also brought to Kemble House for a food styling and photography session with the LEON cookbooks author, Rebecca Seal. The trip was a resounding success with the FAM Trip guests producing social content reaching over 224,000 people and increasing the Irish appetite for LEON.
Ahead of launch, Legacy wanted to create a fun, shareable video that conveyed key LEON brand messaging. The concept of “LEON” arriving in Dublin and not being able to find anywhere for a fast, healthy meal, created native content for the brand to share and Legacy secured video coverage on key online platforms such as Totally Dublin, Spin 103.8 online and more.
Just ahead of the launch, Legacy did some matchmaking and sent “You’ve matched with LEON” Tinder style invitations to key influencers. Each invitee received a LEON Legend Card, allowing them a sneak peek at the restaurant and exclusive benefits, this activity generated another burst of social content reaching over 220,000 people ahead of launch.
The final activity pre-launch seen a swarm of LEON characters take to Dublin’s streets and engage with the public, inviting them to the launch and educating them about the sustainable and natural food offering available at LEON.
According to The Irish Examiner, meal delivery platform Just Eat, which operates in 15 countries, reported a 987% rise in demand for plant-based options in 2017 in the UK, with one-third of its restaurant partners providing vegan options. With many Irish consumers similarly following vegetarian and natural food trends, the team at LEON identified the perfect commercial opportunity to enter the Irish market in 2019. When LEON launched in Temple Bar, over a hundred people queued for a taste of LEON’s Naturally Fast Food, as a result of the communications strategy devised by Legacy, which focused on changing attitudes and consumer education. With 19 more restaurants to come, Legacy plan to continue building a loyal customer base for LEON through informative and innovative communication strategies.
by Anthony O’Brien, Senior Account Manager