Philly Pretzel Factory


Despite massive popularity in the Greater Philadelphia region, food franchisor Philly Pretzel Factory lacked awareness outside of the region, where it was seeking significant growth. The corporate team approached Slice to help develop a multifaceted marketing and communications strategy that focused on creating awareness in national markets while simultaneously engaging customers in target “outer” markets and local markets. Secondarily, the corporate team wanted additional support and guidance to help franchisees improve their local marketing efforts. 


Starting with our First Cut process, we worked with the corporate team to identify several of the unique parts of their brand. One of the key takeaways early on was a public misperception of the brand as just a snack food company. With product offerings varying from individual pretzels to specialty meal alternatives to large trays for events, it became clear that our focus was to start repositioning the company as an “anytime” quick-service restaurant. 

No messaging has any value without knowing which key stakeholders you are trying to reach and how the messaging solves their key pain points. For current and prospective customers, the biggest objectives were to not only increase their awareness of the brand and generate larger sales, but also give them a means to meaningfully engage with the brand through social media. Secondarily, franchisees needed a way to engage further with marketing efforts and get tools and lessons that they could apply to their own local markets.

Social Media Management

Off-the-bat, we set up initial operating procedures to properly engage with our customers on social media. This was split into two different systems: proactive and reactive engagement. Proactively, we wanted to find ways to thank customers for sharing about their positive experiences, whether we were tagged publicly, mentioned offhandedly, or sent private messages. On the flip side, negative experiences needed to be attended to. For this, we developed a customer service process focused on identifying customer issues, elevating key information to the fuller team, and making it right.

For organic social media, our strategy focused on developing several different content pillars that helped the brand not just reach customers, but also engage them on a deeper level. At a surface level, this included making our content relevant to what was happening in the world, whether it be athletic events, seasons, or trending topics. This was done either with tactfully-done photoshoots, or by creating custom-shaped pretzels that embodied the season. Outside of brand-developed imagery and videos, our content strategy also included two other key sources: customers and franchisees. Customer-sourced content involved engaging with anyone who used our hashtags or tagged our account, and resharing with credit. This raw, less polished content often ended up being the most engaging. Franchisee-sourced content involved working with different stores in different regions to see what was happening in their locations, and amplifying it through brand social to drive traffic back to their locations. 

In conjunction with organic efforts, we developed and executed a paid advertising strategy that focused on supporting franchisees across the system. At a high level, our campaigns focus on generating website traffic to individual DMAs around national holidays and events, like Valentine’s Day, the Big Game, and New Year’s Eve, in addition to more niche days, like National Pretzel Day and National Hot Dog Day. Year over year, we continue to nurture strategic interest-based audiences, while also incorporating retargeting based on customer lists, website visits, and website actions. This level of targeting has had massive impacts, with one campaign generating an average cost per click of $0.12 and creating a top sales day for the entire system. 

Public Relations

Our public relations plans focused on getting media coverage at local and national levels. The newshooks for these efforts included new products, store openings, community events, national holidays, and more. Locally, we worked with stores to identify relevant events they were hosting to engage with nearby media and the community. Nationally, efforts were focused on holidays like National Pretzel Day and National Hot Dog Day. For larger publications, promotions were often included in roundups, while local TV would stop by to talk to franchisees and get a peek behind the scenes of how their signature pretzels were made. Over two years, there were over 200 stories placed at all levels of publications.

Aside from proactive outreach to the media, we also worked with their corporate team to deal with reactive, crisis issues. From store-specific problems to system-wide announcements, we approached each situation with the same major framework: who are the major stakeholders involved, what are the key messaging points for each, and how can we communicate them the most effectively. 

Aside from engaging traditional media, we began new efforts around engaging influencers for the first time. For these efforts, we worked to identify individuals who had accumulated engaged followings on Instagram and offered them in-kind goods for them to visit their local franchise and share their experiences. In just one year of this targeted engagement, we reached over 50 influencers in several key markets.


Over three years of collaboration, we have been able to continuously showcase the brand in a way that helps them focus on multi-unit sales versus single product sales. Additionally, through social media we have been able to engage customers in more unique ways and drive real relationships. Looking to the future, our efforts now focus on driving more of this community interest and helping them identify further creative opportunities across their markets.

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