Why is a Sandwich Commercial Giving People the Chills?

We at Stellar Digital are strong believers in the power of local marketing and community engagement.

Last week, the week before the AFC Championship matchup of the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots, we spotted a social post from Goodcents Subs including footage of the Chief’s rising star quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. This KC-based chain specializing in deli fresh subs has very intelligent people in the marketing department who know better than to use this without his permission. So, what is going on!?

It turned out the Mahomes footage was part of Goodcents’ new campaign focused on the hard work that goes into achieving excellence. “You can’t fake excellence, you can only build it… Whether it’s waking up early to run laps or bake bread, you can’t cut corners, you can’t fake results,” the voice over so wisely says.

We caught up with Arielle Long-Seabra who heads up marketing at Goodcents to get the scoop. The first question was, of course, how did you make it happen? Long-Seabra responded, “We reached out to his agent and told them we were a Kansas City company trying to drive home our 30-year history and really wanted to partner with him.” She added, “It’s free to ask and he said yes.”

Though national deals are usually more lucrative and have wider audiences, Mahomes’ agents are focused on forming relationships with local companies first. That’s why some of Mahomes’ earliest deals were with Kansas City companies like Airshare and CommunityAmerica Credit Union.

Goodcents is a smaller company and not a brand you’d necessarily expect to have the hottest new NFL quarterback as an endorsement partner. It may be because of this that Mahomes’ teammates were sharing the Goodcents spot on social media. Does that same good will exist around large, national endorsement deals?

travis kelce

Through limiting his commercial exposure and valuing relationships over transactions, Mahomes’ agents are setting him up for even greater success in the not-too-distant future.

Long-Seabra recognizes that there may have been some special alignment of the stars to be able to produce this spot and have it out on social channels in the week leading up to and during the AFC Championship game. We’re loving the audience reactions.

gc mahomes reactions

Goodcents + Mahomes are the heroes we need right now. (pun intended)

Voice Assistants are Impacting Local Search

The adoption of voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana will only increase the ever-growing importance of managing local pages. Mobile voice search is three times more likely to be local-based than text search.

Ever ask Siri for restaurant suggestions? How about Alexa, Cortana or Google Now? Do you know where their recommendations are coming from?

img_3135If you’ve got an Amazon Echo in your home or office, Alexa makes recommendations based on Yelp listings. Ford announced in January that it will be putting Alexa in new cars. This means when someone is driving a new Ford and looking for a place to eat, there’s a good chance Yelp will influence their decision. Beyond Ford owners, think about rental cars. When someone rents a Ford in an area they’re not familiar with they’re even more likely to ask Alexa for suggestions.

Siri also leverages Yelp in its recommendations. In 2016 Apple began allowing third party apps to leverage Siri. Apps like Lyft, and many GPS apps have leveraged Siri. If those third party apps happen to be making dining suggestions they could potentially be coming from Yelp.

Microsoft’s voice assistant Cortana is built into their Edge web browser helping users make reservations and find discounts when shopping online. Cortana leverages Yelp and Trip Advisor for recommendations.

Google Now on the other hand makes recommendations from it’s own knowledge graph. Restaurants are getting more than twice as many reviews on local Google pages than they are on Yelp.


Source: Moz.com

When information on local pages is incorrect, users don’t realize that many brands do not manage their pages and they blame the brand.   If your ratings and reviews are negative it will negatively impact your search ranking however responding to reviews can have a positive impact on search ranking.

Keep in mind these are people with intent, looking to find a restaurant like yours. If you are not managing your local pages, it will be increasingly difficult for you to win traffic and thus sales away from brands that are.

You may think you’ve got search covered through paid results but have you factored voice assistants into your search strategy?

Stellar Digital helps brands manage local pages at scale.  Contact us to learn more!





Chelsea.jpgBy Chelsea Bradley

For every physical location your brand has, there is a Facebook, Google and Yelp page for that specific location.

Three Pack.pngMany marketers and operators choose to ignore local pages and focus on the brand page so posts and comments are in one place.

Makes sense, right?

Not really.

Whether you like it or not, your guests are reading and writing reviews, commenting and making purchase decisions based on the information they find on your brand’s local pages.

72% of consumers who conduct a local search on Google choose from the top three local results.

The number of posts, reviews and ratings customers post to a brand’s local pages factor into their SEO ranking. Google favors brands who engage with posts, and respond to reviews.

By replying to reviews, brands encourage positive ratings, and are able to recover guests who leave negative reviews.

According to Forrester, reviews are viewed as more trustworthy than organic search engine results, and promotional posts on social media.

Can you guess which brand responds to all local page star-reviews?

Over the past six months, Brand B has responded to 99% of reviews while Brand A hasn’t responded at all. Star ratings increase as a brand’s engagement and customer service increases.Star.png

A brand is no longer what we tell consumers it is, it is what consumers tell each other it is, but we have the ability to control the conversation, build relationships, recover guests, and gather actionable data.

You’re ready to manage your local pages, now what?

Before you dive in with posting content, and responding to reviews, you need to:

  • Claim your brand’s local pages on Facebook, Google and Yelp
  • Update, and verify all listings are accurate (website, geo-coordinates, phone number, hours of operation)
  • Remove duplicate listings

Sound overwhelming?  Stellar Digital helps brands manage their local pages at scale while providing actionable insights and trends.  Contact us to learn more!




Have you mapped out your consumer’s mobile moments? Have you thought about the relevance of your brand in those moments during a consumer’s journey when they consult the device they look at an average of 150 times a day?

Google has begun testing its mobile-first index, which will primarily look at the mobile version of your website for its ranking signals and fall back on the desktop version when there is no mobile version. Many brands have a mobile-optimized version of t92heir website and consider this box checked.

The significance of Google’s shift to mobile-first reaches far beyond the importance of having a mobile optimized website. Research conducted by MomentFeed found that a company’s website, especially restaurants, accounted for less than 10% of their online traffic. They are seeing 10x more activity on Google, FB and Yelp.

Google found that there has been a 2x increase in “near me” searches in the past year. Local Google, Facebook and Yelp properties are often what consumers use to find a location’s address, directions, phone number, and hours of operation. They also use them for something brands have less control over, ratings and reviews.

Restaurant brands tend to think of Yelp when they think of ratings and reviews. Today the largest number of restaurant reviews, are left on Google, followed by Facebook and Yelp trails them both.

88Local properties are often ignored by multi-location brands because managing them doesn’t seem scalable. A brand with 500 locations typically gets more than 100 reviews a day and that number continues to grow, signaling new behavioral norms.

Local page management is in fact scalable. Software like MomentFeed enables brands to manage local pages and the reviews on them all in one place. For brands that aren’t resourced to manage, experienced community managers at Stellar Digital adopt the brand’s tone and persona to help manage their pages while providing actionable insights back to the brand. Responding to negative reviews shows guests that you care and can lead to them changing their review.

If you’ve got a mobile optimized website, you’re in good shape. Let us help with all of the other mobile properties consumers with intent interact with on a journey that we want to ensure leads to a visit.



Local social media pages and local content are becoming increasingly important. When people conduct a search for a restaurant or bar on their phone, they’ll likely be prompted to search for one “near me” or they’ll see the closest location as the first result, meaning that they often engage first with a local listing rather than a brand presence. The organic reach of corporate brands’ Facebook posts has continued to decrease. Local business page posts, however, reach a larger percentage of their audience and have higher engagement.

Location-Specific Messaging from NATIVE.

Local Business Pages

If you’re not familiar with local pages, any brand that has brick-and-mortar locations has local pages on Facebook, Google, Yelp, etc. These pages may not be active and may not have been set up by the brand. If guests go to “check in” at a location and a page doesn’t exist for that location, the guest can create one. If a guest creates a page, the brand has no control over what’s on the page until they claim it. Brands that don’t claim their pages run the risk of pages containing inaccurate and misleading information. Brands that claim local pages have the benefit of being able to share more locally relevant content in addition to their brand-level content.


Customizing Content for Local

Consumers increasingly expect to be able to customize food and beverages: Chipotle and Subway with their assembly lines, Coca-Cola Freestyle or Pepsi Spire machines, big selections of locally brewed beer and craft cocktails. Content is no different. Content that feels more personal is more likely to capture their attention, and they’ll be more likely to share.

There’s a lot of noise in users’ social media feeds, and it takes impactful content for brands to break through. For example, football fans notice when a brand speaks directly to their specific fan base. Not all brands have the $$$ to sponsor NFL teams, but Papa John’s does, and they publish content about local teams to their local pages.


Local content should also be important to brands that serve alcohol. Growing up in Massachusetts, I never heard the term “happy hour” because apparently a law prevents such a thing. When I moved to Dallas, we didn’t even consider restaurants that didn’t promote a happy hour. Why does that matter? That type of pricing and promotion can vary wildly from region to region for multi-unit brands. For example, a restaurant group may have over 20 different versions of a 2 for $20 menu. Some locations have 2 for $25 or $26, with food varying by location. To accurately promote such a deal nationwide, it could take thousands of geo-targeted ads and much versioning of creative messaging.

If local users can’t find this type of information and find out what’s relevant at the location they’re interested in, they’ll move on to the next option.

It can sound overwhelming and It may involve a spreadsheet or two, but it is effective and absolutely worth the effort. Want to know more? Give us a shout.

This post was created in partnership with content agency NATIVE.  Stellar Digital and NATIVE partner to fuel brands fire through strategy, creative and experiences.


The constant evolution of the search engine landscape can be difficult for multi-unit brands who are juggling the online presence of many locations in addition to their brand. Whether they’re aware or not, each of their locations likely has a Facebook page, Google page, Yelp page, etc.  Google and Yelp pages are crowd-sourced meaning anyone on the internet could potentially go change the information on their pages. With mobile search growing and the prompt to search “near me” these local crowd-sourced pages are often prominent in search results making the ability to control what consumers see in organic search results, well, uncontrollable.

A recent survey found that 90% of mobile users’ searches on their phone are for restaurants. 82% of those surveyed want to see an address or driving directions clearly visible in the search results.

When a multi-unit restaurant brand’s website shows up in search results it often takes a few clicks to get to specific location information and driving directions. Often, Google and Yelp local page results show up before the brand’s owned properties, clearly displaying an address or one-click driving directions.  The information on these crowd-sourced pages isn’t always accurate. 

Organic search results will more frequently show the most relevant results near the searcher, so it’s important that multi-unit brands think of their locations as local businesses.  

To illustrate the relevance of local pages, we took 100 multi-unit restaurant brands and conducted searches for them on Chrome desktop, iOS Safari, and the mobile Google app.  

Here are some of the organic search results:

GoogleMobile Google App 

  • Google local pages ranked first 85% of the time
  • The brand’s website was the second result 84% of the time
  • The brand’s Facebook pages were in the first seven results 72% of the time and local Facebook pages ranked higher than brand Facebook pages
  • Yelp pages showed up in the first seven results 68% of the time

iOS Safari

  • YelpThe brand’s website was number one 46% of the time
  • Yelp pages were in the first five results 98% of the time, in the top three 82% of the time, and showed up as as the first result 53% of the time
  • The restaurant’s local Facebook page showed up in the first seven results 82% of the time and in the top three 17% of the time

Chrome on Desktop

  • DesktopGoogle local pages were on the right panel or in the first three results 83% of the time
  • Google pages were in the number three spot 38% of the time while YP pages had that spot 11% of the time
  • The restaurant’s Facebook page was in the first seven results 71% of the time
  • The brand’s website showed up as the first result almost 100% of the time, more often than not though didn’t display a local address or click for driving directions like the Google or Yelp pages right below it did

Maintaining the accuracy of local results can be difficult for any brand, and exponentially so for multi-unit brands. Fortunately, this challenge is solvable. Run a few searches yourself. Let us know what you find and if you’re happy with the results. 


I was recently in NYC with a coworker. We were trying to get to Applebee’s on 50th and Broadway, which I had been to many times. I could tell that the Uber driver wasn’t going the right way and told my coworker that something was wrong. We arrived at the address the Uber driver was given and there was no Applebee’s, lots of other restaurants but no Applebee’s.

I asked my coworker what address he gave the driver and he showed me his phone. The address he’d shown the driver was from the first search result; a Yelp listing that was incorrect. In our case we knew the Applebee’s existed and rerouted the driver. Had we not recently been to that Applebee’s, we probably would’ve thought it was gone and have gone to one of the many other restaurants in the area.

More than 50% of Google searches are done on mobile devices. This makes local online properties increasingly important. Even when searching on a desktop or tablet, we’re more and more frequently given the option to search “near me.” With mobile search, the first three organic search results get more than 64% of clicks. For brick and mortar locations, those results tend to be Google business pages, Yelp or Facebook pages.

Consumers aren’t thinking about the fact that information like address, phone number and hours of operation are crowd sourced on Yelp and Google pages. Consumers still “check-in” and if they can’t find a location’s page, they’ll create one often resulting in duplicate pages with misinformation. Brands can claim or verify their pages and try to maintain them. This is a challenge for multi unit brands like Applebee’s with nearly 2000 locations.

In 2014 Google commissioned two custom research studies to look at local search behavior across devices. Here are some of their findings:

  • 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find local information.
  • 56% of smartphone searches while on the go have local intent.
  • 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day.

Google and Facebook have both made recent announcements that emphasize the importance of local business pages. This trend will continue as consumers expect more locally relevant search results.

Here are three things you can do to increase your chances of showing up in local search results with correct information:

  1. Use a platform like MomentFeed, Social Strategy 1Brandify, Venue Labs or Location3 to manage your location information. These tools can help you consolidate duplicate pages, and ensure your information such as address, phone number, and hours of operation are correct. Some give you the ability to publish or run ads locally. Some of them let you manage reviews from the platform.
  1. A survey conducted by BrightLocal found that 72% of those surveyed are likely to use a business with a 3 star rating while only 27% would use a business with a 2 star rating. What-star-ratings-are-too-low1That’s a huge difference!

You’ll notice in local search results that the first three locations rarely have less than four stars. Locations with better ratings rank higher. Ratings and reviews not only encourage or deter guests but they also impact search ranking.

Encourage guests to leave reviews and pay attention to them. By encouraging guests to leave reviews they’re more likely to tell you if they had a bad experience while still at your location. This gives you the opportunity to correct the situation before they complain on a review site.

  1. Educate franchisees and local managers that online properties have an impact on the success of their physical locations. You can manage pages at the brand level through one of the platforms I’ve mentioned or you can empower franchisees or local managers to manage them. Either way, they need to be aware of what bad reviews and misinformation are doing to their reputation and ability to be found in search results.

What I’ve been describing is pull marketing. It’s unobtrusive and doesn’t turn consumers off like some advertising can. If a consumer is looking for what it is you offer and you’re not in their search results someone else will get their business.

Things change quickly on the Internet. One trend that is not likely to go away any time soon is the importance of mobile and localization.

For reference:

Google Announcements: http://searchengineland.com/new-google-local-search-display-230525


Facebook Announcement: https://www.facebook.com/business/news/pages-updates


This week I had the opportunity to attend and present at AG Catalyst. I was included because of my restaurant/foodservice background but I knew little about the agriculture industry or the challenges they faced prior to attending.

Here’s what I did know. I grew up in one of the oldest fishing ports in the US, Gloucester, Massachusetts. Years of overfishing those waters caused the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to issue restrictions. The fishing industry that sustained Gloucester and surrounding areas for hundreds of years was drastically changing leaving many out of jobs at the same time the US economy was in crisis.

The families that relied on this trade for generations felt a seemingly sudden impact. As you can imagine they were not pleased with NOAA and staged protests outside of the NOAA offices. They wrote letters to news publications, went on the evening news in protest, and made the disappointment and anguish in their voices heard. Their livelihood was being taken away and that was the only way they knew to deal with it.

Protest NOAA

Mannequins dressed in fishing gear with nooses around their necks decorate the stage as hundreds of fishermen rally against new fishing regulations outside the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration building in Gloucester, Mass.

I arrived early to the AG Catalyst conference and spent some time in the hotel lobby before it started. Lindsay Sankey was sitting nearby talking about the panel discussion she would be part of. I was impressed that her blog proactively addressed issues that farmers are dealing with by explaining the why behind the what. Putting herself in that position could draw a lot of criticism or negativity and she immediately gained my respect for doing it. Reading her blog Jean’s Boots are Made for Talking, backed up my first impression.

Sidenote: There were so many great presenters that this post would be way too long if I included them all. If you’re reading this and I haven’t mentioned you, I think you’re wonderful also.

Andrew Campbell gave me my next wow! moment. He grew up on a dairy and crop farm, left to pursue a career behind a news desk but returned to work on the farm he grew up on. Andrew uses his media experience off of the farm to educate and advocate around agriculture, breaking down perceptions through transparency.

In the spirit of education and transparency, Andrew made a decision that for a year, he was going to post a photo from his farm on Twitter everyday using the hashtag #farm365.

Screen shot 2015-10-21 at 8.20.03 PM

Haters gonna hate… and they did. The hashtag was flooded with messages of hate and accusations around treatment of animals that couldn’t be farther from the truth. No matter how hard you try to remove yourself from this, it can feel personal. In his case the haters began sending disturbing messages to his wife, which were personal.

There are some groups on the internet that you just have to ignore. Nothing you can say will change the way they’ve decided to perceive you. Andrew learned this lesson, as many of us have.

Andrew focused again on his goal of posting a photo from the farm everyday.  His photos show how well animals are treated on his farm. He shows how hard farmers work to put the food we have on our tables. Andrew is proactively doing whatever he can to sustain the agriculture industry.

AG Catalyst was one of Greg Peterson’s 95 speaking events in 2015. Greg and his family are 5th generation farmers primarily raising beef cattle on their farm in Assaria, Kansas. Greg is 24 but you’d never know it by how he carried himself and the confidence he had on stage singing along live with parody videos he and his brothers made “I’m Farming and I Grow It,” and Katy Perry’s Roar “Chore.” Their videos generated national and international news coverage.

Screen shot 2015-10-21 at 8.22.55 PM

Peterson Farm Bros YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnphMQikpJDQiDVZ1AvuGpA

Greg is a farmer that is traveling the world advocating for agriculture. He and his family also blog about misunderstood topics in agriculture and open up their farm for tours.

What I found remarkable was that the advocates I’m speaking of were young and passionate about preserving their ability to put food on our tables. They are proactive about sustaining their industry and working together to amplify their voice. Unfortunate situations like that of our Gloucester fishermen have inspired a new generation to do better.

Check out the AG Catalyst conversations here: #AGCatalyst