“It’s one of those rare things that happens in a business's life cycle. Google knocked on our door,” said Bo Lowery, Director of Marketing Support for Wild Birds Unlimited. “Earlier this summer we received a call from Cameron Kessel, Principal of new Business & Media Partnerships at Google. It wasn’t a sales call. It was an invitation to participate in a very exclusive program, called Google Brand Accelerator, designed to help brands grow and transform their business using Google advertising. We learned that the Google Brand Accelerator Team hand picks brands to work with in this special program – brands they call ‘sleeping giants’ within their industries. Google had identified Wild Birds Unlimited as one of those ‘sleeping giants’ based on a relatively narrow set of criteria which included high web search traffic, excellent products and services, stability of the brand, high Google satisfaction ratings, and ecommerce capability. The goal for the program is for Google to help us effectively tap into the power of Google marketing tools to drive business into our franchises."
During a three-month period which starts mid-September 2017, Wild Birds Unlimited will work with a dedicated team at Google to strategically implement ads on the web, test effectiveness and learn how to optimize results. “We thought, who better to teach us how to do this with excellence than Google themselves!” said Lowery.
About 100 Wild Birds Unlimited franchisees will participate in the program to start. But, WBU believes the entire brand will benefit from the increased search volumes, likening it to a rising tide that lifts all boats. Because the accelerator program is by invitation only, Google provides the strategic planning and services for no cost. WBU only pays for ads placed.
“The Google team’s job is to make us successful by studying and optimizing ad campaigns. We gave them insights into our company niche, our customers, products and culture. They work with my team here at WBU to craft everything from traditional Google adwords to display ads you see when you are on partner websites. We’ll also test YouTube ads,” said Lowery.
Wild Birds Unlimited expects to learn a lot over the next 3 months and the brand plans to scale the findings to benefit all franchisees and the system as a whole.
“The Brand Accelerator Team works with about 15 brands at a time. Their team is measured on their success in converting us to a long-term advertiser. We hope they are successful enough for us to want to do that! We have tried Google ads in the past, but we haven’t found what works. That’s why we found this program so attractive.
“From the time they reached out to us, to really vetting the program and understanding what it could potentially bring to our company, we focused on asking the right questions to make sure it was a good fit for our brand,” said Lowery. “My goal is to help guide and direct the Google team from a strategic point of view. We will adjust and refine as we go and carefully evaluate our results. I expect it to be an exciting fourth quarter!”