Interesting article in Friday's WSJ about expansion plans. (Which I can not find now. ) In Canada they have been supporting Kid's Hockey clubs to provide a way to introduce the brand. TH is now as far south as Ashland Kentucky and has a strong following in the Columbus, Ohio area. They are using Little League Baseball to introduce the brand down in the US. They are still supporting hockey clubs in the Northern U.S.
Hortons wants to change that. The chain recently announced plans to nearly double its size in the U.S. by adding 240 stores by 2007, from 260 stores currently, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. To lift its profile, Hortons won't play on its Canadian roots. Instead it is taking a leaf from its Canadian marketing strategy of emphasizing its community ties.
As it did in Canada, Hortons is sponsoring local soccer, T-ball and baseball teams in the U.S., as well as junior hockey players that get to scrimmage on-ice during intermissions at American Hockey League games. This fall, it will host a charity golf tournament in Columbus, Ohio. It is sending 768 underprivileged kids this summer to a waterfront camp that it built in Campbellsville, Ky.
Instead of trying to build brand awareness across the U.S., Hortons is running regional ad campaigns with more targeted messages. In states where Hortons has only recently set up shop, such as Pennsylvania and Kentucky, its print, TV and radio ads promote its "always fresh" motto, which lets consumers know that coffee is drained if it's not sold within 20 minutes of being brewed. In states where Hortons is better known, its ads promote food sold in its stores as well as spotlight its charitable contributions in local communities.
The company's "success is driven by awareness, and that is based more on a function of time and trial and not necessarily advertising," says Chris Laganos, senior vice president of Tim Hortons's U.S. operations. Last year, sales at U.S. stores open for more than a year were up 10% from 2003, better than the 7.4% growth recorded at the Canadian stores. The company won't talk about its ad budget for this year but says it spent $6 million last year in the U.S., compared
Interesting strategy for a divestiture; if it does happen figure Fall of '06.