By: Jordan Ross
By now, you’ve probably heard about or were able to take part in it, but on Oct. 11, Blaze Pizza in Ann Arbor had a free pizza day where it gave away 11-inch personal pizzas to customers that came in between 11am-9pm. While anyone was able to take advantage of this promotion, Blaze Pizza did have one requirement for those who came to get a free pizza from them—you had to follow the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. Unfortunately, I was not able to get a free pizza due to my hectic schedule this semester, but I couldn’t help but notice this campaign.
While Blaze Pizza could have simply just offered free pizzas to the public, they instead asked their customers for something in return. The public had to pay for their pizzas with the simple action of following their social media pages. As many of us in the public relations field know by now, social media plays a huge role in what we do in our careers. Millions of people around the world, and thousands in the metro Detroit area already have social media accounts. For people who wanted to partake in getting a free pizza from the restaurant, they didn’t have to go out of their way. Blaze Pizza utilized the tool of social media for their own benefit, but they also gave something in return to the public.
While it doesn’t cost anything for the public to follow Blaze Pizza on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat, it doesn’t mean that it was not of any value to the business. As more people followed Blaze on social media, it helped them spread the word about their business. Blaze Pizza is a new restaurant in the area, so they want to get the word out about their business to the community so they can increase traffic to their location. Not only do they want to get the word out about their business, but they want the community to spread positive words about their business. Blaze Pizza can say all day long how great they think their business is. What really draws people in and keeps them coming back is hearing the opinions of others who live in the community and have been to Blaze before and enjoyed their experience.
There is a famous saying out there that goes, “The best things in life are free.” If something is free, people are going to show interest and want to learn more about it, regardless of what it is. People work hard for their money and when they spend it, they want to make sure that it is not going to waste. When something is first introduced and you have even the slightest bit of skepticism regarding the product, you may not want to take the chance and spend the money on it. Giving something away for free for the first time can get customers’ feet through the door and minimize the fears they may have of losing their money on something they don’t like. If a customer tries something for free and actually enjoys it, that means they may actually come back and keep buying the product or service. The consumer may also be grateful to the business that they were allowed to try the product for free, which helps build the relationship between the business and the public. That is what PR is all about people!
Today, you would be hard-pressed to find a service that doesn’t provide a free trial of some sort. For example, with internet video companies, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, or even YouTube Red, you can sign up for a free-month trial of their services. In the food industry, while sometimes it’s common for restaurants to give away free samples of their product, it is very uncommon for them to give away full portions of their product for free. Blaze Pizza broke away from the norm, and the public appreciated that. The turnout of this event was very good, and many people were able to come in and enjoy some of Blaze Pizza’s offerings for no cost. People who enjoyed the pizza have a great chance of coming back to the restaurant and becoming repeat customers. Blaze was able to boost their social media presence, which will allow the company to reach more people and get them into their restaurant.
I couldn’t help but view this situation as a win-win for everybody involved. While it may be a risky proposition giving away a free product, I can easily see how this will pay off for Blaze Pizza and help build a relationship with the community. When the public feels a connection with a business that is located within their community, it gains the public’s support and they will want to see your business thrive. Blaze Pizza did just that with this giveaway.
Jordan Ross is a senior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in public relations and minoring in communications. Jordan is in his first semester serving as the Vice President of Professional Development for EMU’s Eleanor Wright Chapter of PRSSA. Jordan is also a member of EMU’s Honors College and serves as the President of the EMU Student Center Student Employee Advisory Committee. You can find Jordan on Twitter @_JJRoss.