Episode 73: Creating an Experiential Brand with Punch Bowl Social’s Scott Sibley
Work is supposed to be fun and games at Punch Bowl Social. The company calls its experiential food and beverage brand a “delectable collection of unequaled music, food, games, and beverages.” While in Milwaukee for the grand opening of Punch Bowl’s 16th location in the U.S., the V.P. of Marketing, Scott Sibley, chatted with #Brandstorm about its unique concept.
What is Punch Bunch Social?
Punch Bowl Social is an unusual name, but it harkens back to the Victorian era when people gathered around the punch bowl to socialize. It has everything fun…food, arcades, karaoke, beverages, old school gaming and a 360-degree bar. There’s really nothing out there with the scale, size and diversity of Punch Bowl Social. Its 20,000+ sq. ft. facilities are eclectic in design – kind of a combo of holiday lodge, Victorian mid-century, modern and industrial design. However, each location is also different with references and connections to its community. In Milwaukee, for example, its love of lakes, beer and German heritage can be felt throughout the space. The private Karaoke rooms have Liberace, Cheese and Space Cowboy (Steve Miller Band) themes that are all definitely hometown Milwaukee. Each location has old school gaming, but some of the games can be unique to the town. While most people call the game “Yard Yahtzee,” in Milwaukee, it’s called “Farkle.”
Punch Bowl is also about positivity and good luck. The number 9 is a positive number, so its founder, Robert Thompson, wanted a name with nine letters. All of his kids have names with nine letters, too.
Marketing Punch Bowl Social
Punch Bowl Social is corporately-owned and its primary targets are millennials and Gen Z. It’s signature event when it enters a new market is to organize a big kick-off party. The company typically engages the help of a local PR in each market to help them connect with the community several months in advance of the opening and to handle publicity for the opening. Its unique concept, scale and size make it newsworthy in every market it enters, but the company also uses paid media to generate awareness.
Punch Bowl Social also begins hiring and training staff at least six weeks to two months out from the opening. It has a corporate training team that works with new hires to learn its zone service concept.
In addition to Milwaukee, Punch Bowl Social has openings in Dallas, Ft. Worth, Washington, D.C., Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Miami and Austin this year. In 2020, it is planning to open in Pittsburgh and St. Louis.
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