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Convenience chain Yesway is determined to make its way during this turbulent time with a relentless focusing on its brand promise of keeping stores going 24/7.
In order to succeed on this mission, the four-year-old chain has made great strides to protect its associates and its customers in part by rewarding certain desired behaviors, chief marketing officer Derek Gaskins shared in the Consumer Goods Sales and Marketing Summit keynote, “From the Frontlines of Convenience: How to ‘Win with Winners.’”
Gaskins noted the chain takes seriously its role as an essential retailer, especially since it’s often the only game in town in many small and rural areas. In order to maintain operations safely and successfully, Yesway followed suit of other retailers and CGs in offering employees guaranteed paid time off should they get sick, provided additional compensation, and ensured it didn’t raise prices for customers.
However, it took things even a step further with its Hospitality Heroes program — a corporate strategy that incentivizes desired behaviors — established to help the retailer wade through a tense, politicized situation and tamp down the stress.
The program instead focuses on empathy and doing the right thing, and has resulted in giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to team members as rewards for such tasks as social distancing, wearing masks and maintaining clean operating standards.
The goal was to “catch them doing the right things,” said Gaskins. Mask wearing, while now standard for retail chains, had yet to reach a mainstream practice, and so Yesway was keen to reward its workers for doing the right thing, whether it was the law or not.
The company also tapped into the fierce loyalty consumers have with the Allsup’s Market brand — Gaskins noted that some customers even have tattoos to display their affinity — by offering company-branded masks, as well as those with the beloved Baby Yoda.
The strategy building upon the idea that “we’re going through a culture change while the world is changing, and how can I bring a positive aspect to that?” Gaskins said.