Looking back, it was during Christmas in 2018 when the KFC pocket franchise was launched through the messaging app WeChat as a mini program. The increasing number of giant food platforms in China meant that diners were choosing to order in rather than dine out. What challenge did this pose? Attracting more of today’s youth to dine at KFC stores.
KFC was searching for new ways to reach out to the younger people in China, and the fast food chain decided to combine the elements of mobile gaming and social media into a single app. The new WeChat mini program allows anyone to own and personalise their very own KFC franchise, along with managing and curating the products.
Through TV advertisements and print ads at train stations, users can scan the QR code via the ads. By scanning the QR code:
Users are directed to the KFC Pocket Store mini program through WeChat
Users get to open, design and share their individual pocket stores
Friends are allowed to order through the pocket stores
In efforts to transform the experience by adding an augmented touch to it, gamified features such as the ability to unlock new products and designing of storefronts were introduced as well.
The pocket franchise managed to differentiate itself from other social media commerce campaigns by placing focus on encouraging interaction between customers and strengthening relationships. An example would be the ‘add sugar’ feature, which helps the owner to gain points which in turn can unlock surprise features and products. This formed ‘sugar’ communities throughout WeChat groups, allowing friends to ‘add sugar’ to each other’s stores, allowing interaction and socialisation among each other.
The KFC pocket franchises successfully grew to be a social talking point, particularly among youths. It even managed to draw in celebrities to join with their own franchises, turning the concept into a trend as fans started to jump in and take part. The campaign sales topped over 900% of the target in 3 months alone, and 2.5 million pocket franchises were created and gained a massive online and offline presence for KFC.