McAlister’s Deli App Part 2: The Remix

A long, long time ago, in a class far away…

I wrote my very first blog.  It was an evaluation of McAlister’s app and how it was connected with the rest of their brand.

I went looking for signs of the app on their website. I also evaluated the mobile design of their website. And I broke down the McAlister’s Deli brand and how it was integrated into their digital presence.

What we learned the first time around…

  1. McAlister’s actually has two apps: Online Ordering and DeliClub.
    • Visiting their website on a mobile device prompted you to download the Online Ordering app, while DeliClub was nowhere to be found outside of a search for “McAlister’s” in the app store.
    • deli site
    • I decided that while the Online Ordering app only does one thing, it does it very well. But, I deemed there to be some missed opportunities for content within in the app. You can learn more about that by reading the first blog.
  2. McAlister’s does not advertise their app(s) through their social media.
  3. A Secret Shopper experience revealed that customers often find the DeliClub app glitchy and unnecessary, but the employee I spoke with agreed with me that the Online Ordering app is a great asset.

Overall, that first time around taught me that McAlister’s Deli lacked cohesiveness in their app presentation and promotion.

So, I decided to revisit it and reevaluate now that I’m a whole four months wiser. I was hoping to find that McAlister’s had magically heard my recommendations from the first evaluation, and put them into effect. Sadly, this is not the case.

What we learned when we got back in the saddle…

  1. McAlister’s no longer has a prompt to download their Online Ordering app when you go to visit their website on a mobile device.
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    • However, website is no longer simply “optimized for mobile,” it now has a responsive design.
      • This is where me being four months wiser comes into play.
      • A responsive design means there is one set of code written for the website and it adapts to whatever screen it is loaded on without much fuss.
      • This allows for a more dynamic experience when visiting the mobile site. The photos on the home screen now scroll on a slideshow without the user having to prompt them to scroll, just like the desktop version.
    • THIS IS GREAT, MCALISTER’S.
      • However, online ordering is still not available through the mobile website, only the desktop version or the app.
      • So not prompting users to download the app when they visit the mobile site is a sorely missed opportunity.
  2. While McAlister’s social media is still mouth watering and hunger inducing, there’s still no sign of the app.
    • Essentially, this means that users will now only know of the app through word of mouth or if they search “McAlister’s” in the app store since there’s no CTA on the mobile site anymore.
      • Though the search will still leave them presented with two options. Confusing.
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  3. The latest round of Secret Shopper brought me to an eager, young counter employee eager to help me work through the DeliClub app after I asked her about it.
    • I told her I only had, and used, the Online Ordering app and she said, “Oh that one’s great!” And then followed with something along the lines of, “The DeliClub could be great, but it’s got some problems. Having two apps might be a little excessive, but I still want people to use them.”
    • I pretended I was a McAlister’s executive and gave this eager, young counter employee an A+. (The food was an A+ as well. Yum.)

Revisiting Recommendations

Now, even more-so than the last time I did this, I’m urging McAlister’s Deli to promote their dang app. They have a great thing going with their Online Ordering app, but now, quite literally, there is no way anyone would know it exists without going looking for it.

And bravo for those proactive people who do go looking for it, but the majority of people need to be prompted with something to know it’s available for use. Do better, McAlister’s.

I still think they need to combine the two apps. DeliClub is their rewards program, and would be more useful if users could gather rewards when ordering through the app. Currently, the app requires you to whip it out at check out or order pick up. A whole extra step for something means most people won’t do it.

BUT THEY DID DO SOMETHING GOOD.

The new, responsive website design really left me impressed. Their mobile site has never been difficult, but now it’s visually engaging instead of just optimized.

McAlister’s, I may be tough on you, but it’s because I just love you so much.

A picture is worth a thousand words…

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Creating Visual Content

Getting on-board with the explosion of visual data.

The brain processes visual data 60,000 times faster than written content.

Seriously,  check out that link. There’s some hefty stats on the speed of the Digital Age and the effectiveness of visual content.

Visual content? Let’s break it down.

Those graphics I have at the top of every blog post? That’s visual content. An attention-grabbing graphic with the purpose of drawing readers into the key message of the blog so that they want to keep reading.

Also, if you’ve spent any time at all on Pinterest, you no doubt know what an infographic is. Infographics are visual content.

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Here’s an infographic on creating a quality infographic from piktochart.com. 

Charts and graphs are also visual content.

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Here’s a pie chart on America’s most popular Thanksgiving pies courtesy of incrediblethings.com.
(I’m hungry.)

To sum it up, visual content is used to visualize (go figure) data and key messages so readers can take in information without having to take the time to read an entire research report or article because the brain takes in visual information much faster than text.

The average attention span is 2,8-8 seconds. Your brain processes visual information  60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information sent to the brain is visual. (Source.)

However, most of the time, the purpose of visual content and data visualization is to entice readers to engage with some sort of written text after they find the easily-processed visual content interesting.

Like the graphics on my blog are a cry of, “Please read me!”

So, how can you create visual content?

Well, there’s piktochart.com. Piktochart promises “anyone can create mind blowing infographics, quick and easy.”

There’s Canva (a personal favorite of mine). Canva is a simple, online graphic design software. It provides templates for a variety of graphics for a variety of platforms. What’s cool about Canva is it provides hundreds of free images and fonts. The free options are cleared for use so you’re not inadvertently stealing anyone’s creative property. But they also offer options you can pay for, roughly ranging from $1 to $5. That means there is copyright on the image, but paying the fee attached to  it clears you for use.

Then there’s Snappa, advertised as “the graphic design tool for digital marketing.” This is something I’ve just discovered in this past week; it’s so new, it’s technically still in its Beta stage. But I gotta say, since I discovered it on Monday (it’s now Friday), I’ve created 12 graphics on it for a new job of mine (I’ll tell y’all more about that once I’m a little deeper into it…). Twelve graphics in essentially four days is astronomical for someone who is not a designated graphic designer.

But Snappa has made it unbelievably easy. It’s extremely similar to Canva, but perhaps maybe even more streamlined. It only provides images and graphics that are free for use. This way, I don’t see something I totally love only to be crushed when I learn I have to pay for.

And, like Canva, Snappa let’s me import my own images, which is great for my elusive new job.

I may be a Snappa-convert. I’m sorry, Canva. I will always love you, and I’m not deactivating my account any time soon.

So, there you have it. A lesson on visual content and how you can get started creating it.

I’m so much cooler online…

R.I.P. Danafrickyeah

Auditing My Online Reputation

And setting goals for improvement.

Aaaaaaand, we’re back! This time with another audit. But not the tax kind. The fun kind we talked about in this blog.

“What are we auditing this time, Dana?” Thank you so much for asking. This time, it’s all about me.

While talking about myself and thinking about myself isn’t exactly my favorite past time, sometimes I have turn the conversation to myself. Especially if I want to be a successful PR practitioner.

In public relations, before I could ever hope to successfully manage an organization’s brand reputation, I need to have my own personal brand under control. The best place to start honing it in? Online.

So, I’ve done an audit of my online presence, aiming to answer questions like, “What is my ‘why’ as a future PR pro?” As well as, “Does my digital persona match my real one?”

And now it’s time to set some goals. Because in this blog, we learned nothing can be accomplished until some measurable goals are set.

But before I tell you my goals, a bit of back story…

Who am I?

Not 24601. Not Jean Valjean.

So when I started my Content PR class this past summer, I was told to hand in my Twitter handle, as we would be using it for class participation, projects and things of the like.

My reaction was something along the lines of, “S#!+.”

Now, my reaction was not spurred by the fact that my “personal” Twitter is dedicated to inappropriate postings, jokes and activities. It was because of my ‘@’ name on my “personal” Twitter: @Danafrickyeah.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

I made the Twitter my junior year of high school and my ‘@’ name has become my own moniker of sorts. Seriously. I have many dear friends who greet me like, “Hey, Frick Yeah!”

But @Danafrickyeah is no Twitter handle for a professional woman. And by no means was I ready to give up that aspect of my online identity. So, I made my “professional” Twitter: @danamcjenn.

But I’ve learned how valuable an established online presence is in public relations, as well as how difficult it is to start from scratch. @Danafrickyeah has 549 followers. @danamcjenn has 10.

So most of my online reputation goals pertain to merging these two Twitter accounts because I’d be a fool to throw away the following I have on my “personal” Twitter by deleting it in pursuit of cultivating my “professional” Twitter.

High school has ended and is long-gone (though Bowling for Soup would beg to differ). It’s time to lay “Frick Yeah” to rest.

(Long story short: I’m going to delete @danamcjenn and give that handle to what is currently @Danafrickyeah. This way, a Twitter search for “Dana Jennings” does not result in two results, with the larger having an immature handle.)

Okay, so back story turned into a novel, but whatever. Let’s get to those goals for improving my online reputation!!!!!

How I’m going to improve my online self…

  1. Establish my professional accomplishments on my new, improved Twitter.
    1. Right now my Twitter is not inappropriate, but it is mostly for my personal musings. I need to start sharing things like my blog and my speculations on the industry on there.
  2. Earn a following of professional influencers.
    1. This may be quite an undertaking. I do have plenty of followers, but they’re mostly friends. I follow many PR professionals and influencers, but it’s time for them to notice me as a credible, vocal, up-and-comer.
  3. Make my identity across the “Big Three” cohesive.
    1. The Big Three being Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
      1. My Instagram shares those rare occasions I like a picture of myself when I’m out being social. I need to make it a little more personable. What’s my day-to-day life like?
      2. My Facebook really has no identity at all. It’s pretty all over the place.
      3. My Twitter, as mentioned, is for my personal musings on pop culture and current events. Also, this is where you can go to see how I’m doing emotionally. Odd, I know. But I tell Twitter what I’m feeling more than I vocalize it to the people around me.

I’m going to stop there because this is getting pretty wordy. But I have plenty more goals and tactics to achieve them. I’ve saved these for myself, but if you really want to know, I’d be happy to share!

So, follow me on everything: @danamcjenn and Dana Jennings on Facebook.

Sincerely,

The Artist Formerly Known as Frick Yeah