sweetgreen + Pence Media Group
In 2007, the first sweetgreen location opened its doors in Washington D.C. as it was founded by three then college students, Nicholas Jammet, Nathaniel Ru, and Jonathan Neman. The founders had a vision to build healthier communities by connecting people to real food and their vision serves as the company’s mission many years later. All sweetgreen locations create plant-forward, seasonal, and earth-friendly meals from fresh ingredients and produce that prioritizes organic, regenerative, and local sourcing, proving that quality never has to be sacrificed for convenience. sweetgreen is today a community-focused brand that seeks opportunities to engage with the local communities that surround them.
Beloved in many markets, sweetgreen had yet to expand into the Midwest and recognized the value in partnering with an Indianapolis-based PR + Marketing firm to develop its local strategy and support the execution of it. PMG was honored to be the chosen partner to launch sweetgreen in the marketplace and tell its story.
During the months leading up to the sweetgreen openings, PMG was tasked to create and execute a strategic plan that involved:
- Grassroots Marketing Activation + Initiatives
- Event Planning + Execution for Keystone, Downtown Indy, and Fishers
- Influencer Marketing + Management
- Public Relations
- Paid Media
Grassroots Marketing Activation + Initiatives
sweetgreen’s brand is very community oriented, and therefore, PMG’S grassroots marketing efforts were essential for this partnership. In order to build connections in the market, PMG created a strategic outreach plan and curated a target list for each location. From personalized outreach to food drops, canvassing local business and youth sports sponsorships, the sweetgreen name and brand quickly became known and valued in the market.
At PMG, we are proud to set our clients up for cross-promotional opportunities with our other clients. In sweetgreen’s case, we were happy to plan product drops for events for our client DL Lowry Salon on several occasions, as well as execute partnerships for two of our fitness studio clients, PHYSIQUE57 and Rumble Boxing North Indy.
Event Planning + Execution
The event planning strategy for each of the three openings had similarities across the stores to create brand and partner consistency but there were also unique experiences created for the locations to resonate with the customer bases. True to each event was a formal ribbon cutting with the Indy Chamber or OneZone Chamber, depending on location, plus event activations and “surprise and delight experiences” that engaged local businesses such as Rusted Window and Party with the Pink Elephant. sweetgreen also established an impact partnership with Second Helpings where for each bowl sold on opening day, one was donated to the organization to help Hoosiers experiencing food insecurity.
This event format allowed for flexibility and customization at each location.
The first location opened at the Fashion Mall at Keystone at the Crossing. For this grand opening, we invited several local vendors to be a part of the celebration. This included Rusted Window for a build your own succulent bar and Ahimsa Home who passed out children’s stainless steel silverware to align with the launch of sweetgreen’s kid menu in Indiana. To keep the energy up, PMG brought in DJ Gabby Love.
In attendance for the official launch of sweetgreen in the Indianapolis market were the three founders, Nicholas Jammet, Nathaniel Ru, and Jonathan Neman, and representatives from the executive, real estate and marketing teams. PMG’S own Nicole Pence Becker emceed the grand opening ceremony which occurred right before the restaurant opened for lunch hour.
One month after sweetgreen’s Keystone location opened its doors, it was time to execute the opening for downtown Indianapolis. Catering to the bustling lunch crowd in the area, sweetgreen hosted a grab n go succulent bar with Rusted Window as a fun “surprise and delight” guests could bring back to their office. DJ Gabby Love returned for this opening, as did a custom balloon arch from Party With The Pink Elephant.
PMG’S Public Relations Strategist, Katie Kiel, emceed the ribbon cutting, which had representatives from downtown Indy, Visit Indy, and the Indy Chamber. Once the ceremonial ribbon was cut, guests arrived to enjoy their lunch break, sweetgreen branded swag and app card credit giveaways.
The third location to open was on 116th Street at Fishers District. The District is a popular food and lifestyle center that caters to families, nearby businesses and visitors to the area. This opening plan occurred as a series of events the first week.
Opening day kicked off with a chamber ribbon cutting and remarks with community partners and members. To add to the fun, representatives from locally owned Simplicity Juice were present and passed out complimentary samples for customers, and kids were welcomed with sweetgreen coloring pages and crayons to keep them entertained.
For the latter half of the day, Rusted Window set up a build your own bouquet station for guests to enjoy and take home. Memento, an alcohol-free bar and coffee shop opening in Fishers, also joined to serve complimentary mocktails.
The following Saturday, sweetgreen kicked off its official marketing partnership with the Indiana Pacers. This included an exciting appearance from the Pacers mascot, Boomer, and members of the Pacemates. The Fishers community, especially the kids, loved snapping photos with the special guests.
Influencer Marketing + Management
At PMG, we work with influencers to create compelling campaigns and manage those campaigns to ensure maximum audience reach while adhering to your brand. For sweetgreen, our team created and managed an influencer strategy that involved inviting our local network of influencers to attend restaurant preview dines and we also developed customized campaigns.
When PMG manages any influencer campaign, we track and report measurable results so the client can understand ROI and campaign effectiveness. Through PMG’s influencer outreach and campaign management, sweetgreen had a reach of 2.3 mil+ follower accounts.
To ramp up excitement for each sweetgreen opening, we advised on local media pitching and strategy. Working alongside sweetgreen’s national public relations agency, we were proud to garner sweetgreen coverage in the Indy Star, Indianapolis Monthly, and Indy Maven.
The PMG team is well versed in paid media opportunities available in the marketplace and advises clients on the best way to spend their advertising dollars. With a goal to increase brand awareness among its target audience, PMG negotiated and secured paid media placements that could support the success of all three locations and placements ranged from digital to print and community sponsorships. The paid strategy complimented earned media and grassroots marketing efforts.
#Consideritdone with PMG in 2023
It’s no secret that event execution and marketing takes a lot of work. PMG’s unique background and network positions us to handle the details while you focus on your organization. Consider it done.
Andrea graduated from DePauw University with a major in Communications and is skilled in brand development and strategy, event management, media relations, media buying, and building relationships. She brings an amazing skillset and field experience to PMG and enjoys mapping out both the big picture and finest details that take a project to the next level.
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