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The Power List
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“More than ever, consumers don’t want to be marketed to,” said Carrabba’s head of marketing Bronze R. Major.

Bronze R. Major knows the importance of AI and influencers in marketing

Carrabba’s head of marketing believes in innovation, evolution, and ‘on demand’ advertising for restaurants

Bronze R. Major believes that today’s marketing landscape is a combination of innovation, evolution, and an era of “on demand” advertising. He knows that with the press of a button on a smartphone, an influencer could impact a company positively or negatively.

Major is the head of marketing for Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Aussie Grill, divisions of Bloomin’ Brands, and has over 15 years of experience across the marketing arena, with a reputation for creating meaningful relationships with consumers, and an ability to increase profitability and enhance brand equity.

“More than ever, consumers don’t want to be marketed to.” Major said. “They prefer authentic brands that are interested in building a relationship versus simply gaining a transaction.” 

Bloomin’ Brands last fall increased its marketing and ad spend, in line with trends industry-wide as casual-dining chains battle to win back traffic. Though not a marketing-specific effort, Carrabba’s launched a full catering hub, Sandwich Bistro.

Major knows that artificial intelligence (AI) is also changing the landscape of marketing. “AI should be viewed as a tool versus a replacement. It can increase speed to market with campaigns, optimize creative and messaging, and amplify marketing. The human element can never be replaced or replicated. With AI, it’s the power of the ‘and.’ Marketing leaders should be challenging themselves to embrace AI and use its capabilities to yield the desired business results.” 

Major recognizes the current importance of Influencers in today’s marketing landscape. 

“Word of mouth has always been the most influential form of advertising. What used to be 1-to-1 or 1-to-some is now 1-to-many with the astronomical rise of the power of social-media influencers.” Major says. “Influencers play a crucial role in restaurant marketing, offering authentic endorsements and access to untapped audiences. They have the power to amplify brand messages, drive engagement, and ultimately increase foot traffic and sales. Businesses should embrace influencers. Influencers can be allies in addition to great business partners.”

When it comes to leveraging those influencers, Major believes that authenticity is paramount. “Partnerships must resonate with our brand values and speak directly to our intended audience. Whether micro or macro, the influencer we align ourselves with has to possess an unwavering dedication to their craft and an authentic connection with their audience. The key to successfully using influencers for your business is ensuring a natural fit so the message is genuine.” 

His favorite influencer? @TheEverythingDad on Instagram. “I am a single father to a 7-year-old girl and have a demanding career. Content creators and social media influencers have been integral in some of the meals I cook, products I use for my daughter, and our activities. His posts and reels resonate with me because there are parallels in our lives. That connection is a testament to the power of authenticity and influencers being genuine.”

Major knows that consumer behavior is influenced by various factors. These can include social proof, convenience, price, quality, and emotional connection. Consumers want brands to build a relationship with them. 

“Consumers are constantly evaluating if their experience matches their expectations,” he said. “If there is a disconnect, it’s our responsibility to overdeliver and fix the identified problem quickly.”

One thing Major is sure of: The creator economy is not a trend. “It's revolutionizing marketing by decentralizing content creation and empowering individuals to build their brands and communities. It offers exciting opportunities for authentic storytelling, building engagement with target audiences, influencer partnerships, and user-generated content, reshaping how brands engage with consumers.”

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