Whilst looking into the fast food brand industry, what struck me was the amazing success of Chipotle. The story of Chipotle is one that inspires me to continue to do branding. Because it shows us that when a company stands up for what it believes in and develops an organisation built on authentic values, consumers respond positively. This brand is one that has been at the forefront of fast food conversation in recent years because of it’s meteoric rise. It continues to grow and with McDonalds struggling to connect with consumers, Chipotle continues to attract bigger and bigger crowds.
What I’ve learned
So why is Chipotle succeeding when others are not? Here are some lessons I’ve learned from observing Chipotle as a company but more importantly as a brand.
1. It’s not just about the food
What Chipotle stands for is far bigger than just the food they offer on their menu. Chipotle stands for “food with integrity” and this drives their entire brand approach and communication. They have a strong commitment to food standards, quality ingredients, locally source produce. This commitment fuels their conversation with consumers and media. They continually remind us not just that they do these things but why they do them. It feels far less like selling.
2. Disrupt the norm
What Chipotle has done as an excellent case study for any business or start up is to find the pain points in the industry and present a disruptive approach to the way it has always been done. The product is a response to the large chains whose food quality, standards & sourcing had become less of a priority.
3. Ethos first
Consumers are drawn to the authenticity of what Chipotle stands for and this authenticity is the filter used for all marketing, communication and branding. Their ads speak to their ethos. Their conversation feels authentic. Their events align with their values. Chipotle aren’t saying different things in different scenarios. There is a consistency that is driven from their values and consumers resonate. “Food with integrity” is their statement.
4. Build a community
Everyone wants to be part of the club. A community of like minded individuals who believe in something. The Chipotle community is growing and passionate. The brand has locked into a growing trend of health conscious young people, young adults and parents trying to make the world a better place in their own way.
5. You need cut through
We are bombarded with so many messages every day. Chipotle have regularly invested into marketing and advertising ideas that cut through the noise. They take risks and aren’t afraid to think outside the box to get attention. This is not only creating stronger advocates from their existing customer base, but it’s attracting new customers as well.
So is it all it’s cracked up to be? Well I’ll let you know soon as we’ll be in the USA this October/November.
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