How Baskin’s Robbins 31% discount drives retention and winbacks users
Ice-cream as a product is very product-led. Most stores will offer a sample to test for free.
The upsell for a scoop of ice cream is an ice-cream tub. Some people may buy a tub once. Some people may never buy.
The hesitation may be because
either the price is a bit high or because
people just forget they need to get some ice cream
Their 31 strategy solves for both of these pain points.
Since the day BR was founded in 1947, their logo has always communicated 31. They never dropped it. The “31 flavor” concept represents a different flavor for each day of the month.
Strategies Baskin Robbins Uses
For Existing Customers
Baskin Robbins offers a few things:
1) Deepen Usage: If they are a well-retained user, BR asks them to deepen usage by ordering more of the same flavor (get a tub at a 31% discount). The 31% discount is a nice trigger moment and a time-lapsed deal which once expired, would require users to wait for 60ish more days. It associates BR with the 31st of each month. Just like you associate Maggi with rain (atleast in India).
2) Widen Usage: For existing users, BR also asks them to go broad, and try their other flavors. Since they constantly keep launching a new flavor each month. This keeps loyal users around for longer. Some users like variety and a flavor each month will keep them coming back. It also gives marketing teams a reason to reach out to customers each month.
For New Users
1) Niche Entry Points / Share-worthy Flavors: Very niche flavors like the dill pickle ice cream that was targeted to expectant mothers. This lets new users come to BR when they have a trigger moment in their life or if there’s a flavor they’re already a fan of. For example, if someone created an icecream out of persimmon or mangosteen, I’d sure as hell go try it once. I may not repeat it but it’ll be a point of entry to the brand for me. If BR ever launched pet-friendly ice-creams, I’d go too!
2) Piggybacking on Cultural Moments: The next thing BR does is piggyback on events with new flavor launches. Here are some examples:
Piggybacked on the Beatles
The 1960s were characterized by Beatlemania. Just before the Beatle’s first US tour, a reporter from the Washington Post called up Baskin Robbins to know what flavor they had come up with to honor the Beatles. The question caught Mr. Roberts by surprise as he hadn’t even thought about it at the time. But he quickly replied, “Beatle Nut, of course”. The new flavor was created, manufactured and delivered within 5 days.
The Gold Medal Ribbon flavor was introduced in connection with the 1980 Winter Olympics
Astronut and Lunar Cheesecake were invented in honor of the NASA space missions in the 1960s. They were introduced only after the astronauts reached home safely.
Here Comes the Fudge ice cream was named after a popular segment on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In TV show.
One of Baskin-Robbins' most popular flavors was actually created by comedian Steve Allen. "Steverino" Ice Cream was invented as a gag for the Steve Allen Show, but proved to be very popular in stores. It was loaded with fresh fruits, nuts and Fern Candy. In the first month it was offered, Steverino Ice Cream sold over 1 million scoops, a new volume record for the industry.
Baskin Robbins as a product is shaped strongly by the marketing. New flavors each month, freemium (allowing users to taste as many flavors before purchasing), creating products based on trends, are all signs that the company is extremely product-led. I was kind of surprised that they didn't capitalise on the Taylor Swift Eras Tour though just like they did with the Beatles.
The idea for 31 Flavors came from Carson-Roberts advertising agency (which later became Ogilvy & Mather), in 1953.