The Evolution of Hot Dish Agency
The Evolution of Hot Dish Agency

1851 Speaks with CEO & Co-Founder Dawn Kane to get the scoop on ‘We Speak Franch’

Founded in 1999, Hot Dish Advertising has seen the world of marketing evolve into a new digitally-driven age. However, as the agency has integrated new technology and trends into their marketing plans to stay ahead of the curve, one aspect has stayed constant throughout the years: the story behind the brand.

The Minneapolis-based full-service agency prides itself on delving into the core values of each client and creating a marketing plan that is tailored to their particular needs.

Rewinding back to the founding of Hot Dish nearly 18 years ago, the agency started as a marketing firm and had acquired a franchise as one of its first clients. They soon discovered an open market for franchise advertising where they had the niche knowledge required to succeed in a sector that was still evolving. The firm was a pioneer in the industry, having developed franchise marketing plans that embodied a brand’s values and nationwide goals but was also tailored to local data and demographics.

“We wanted to be knowledgeable on the franchising side, so we could not only be of help on the consumer-facing side, but also in lead generation to grow a client,” says Dawn Kane, CEO and co-founder of Hot Dish Advertising. “Looking at the data and executing market research is key to finding those nuances that ultimately lead to brand growth.”

In 2012, Hot Dish rebranded with a more modern logo and renewed its focus on franchising by generating the tagline, “We speak Franch”. The slogan essentially embodies the agency’s concerted effort to learn every aspect of franchising, from website optimization to local consumer campaigns, with the goal of increasing consumer traffic and driving lead generation for clients. Kane points to the transformation of Tropical Smoothie Cafe over the last four years as a prime example of how the agency has mastered the language and nuances of franchising.

“When we started with the brand, they were undergoing a transition and growing at a steady rate. They came to us really wanting to take it to the next level and were open to trying out new strategies and ideas,” said Kane. “Having that trust, we were able to help them increase the number of quality leads through a more focused media plan that raised sales at operating locations.”

Hot Dish used their data to figure out the key franchisee demographics and create a slogan that embodied the brand’s core values: “Feed people well. Treat people well. Do well.” Through the efficacy of several marketing mediums and sales tools driven by this campaign, Tropical Smoothie Cafe has gained greater recognition in annual franchise awards leading to new franchisee prospects.

As Hot Dish looks ahead, Kane says the focus is on building out their digital team and learning how to best incorporate their strategies into a campaign that is carefully tailored to each market.

“Staying on top of trends and continuing to have a holistic eye is key. If you change one part of the strategy, always thinking about how that impacts the overall business is vital,” said Kane.