There’s been a lot of hype about chicken sandwiches lately. It honestly makes me smile because growing up, chicken sandwiches consisted of leftover fried chicken and whatever bread we had. Now there’s an actual war over chicken and bread #chickensandwichwars.
Well...I’ve got a few things to say about it.
On one hand, this is a marketing dream! To create such a buzz over a product and see customers emotionally invest in your company is what we strive for. Quite impressive.
On the other hand I feel like everyone needs to calm the hell down because we are not talking about a selection of rare ingredients, only available while supplies last. Which brings me to a marketer's nightmare: pushing a product and then finding yourself unable to meet the demand. Booooom! While we have two highly capable companies that understand the power of marketing, only one truly understands the power of branding and make no mistake - there is a difference.
I’ll give credit where credit is due; Popeyes caused a ruckus with the release of their chicken sandwich and from those (few) that had the chance to try it sing its praises. They had lines out the door, cars blocking traffic waiting to get to the drive-thru window, customers tweeting, posting, it was an all-out frenzy. And you know what? Good for them. Popeyes has been an underdog in the fast-food chicken world for some time and this was an orchestrated moment of glory. So what went wrong? They weren’t prepared. To run out of product in one location, hey it happens. An entire city, maybe you can blame your distributor. But when all your locations run out of what you’re known for, well that just shows a lack of preparedness. The opportunity was there, hell it was wrapped around your buildings but the doors may as well have been closed.
Enter Chick-fil-A. Or should I say, Exit Popeyes. Here’s where it comes down to the basics of branding. Popeyes is new to this level of demand (lines around the corner, wait times, etc.) Chick-fil-A... not so much. Drive past any Chick-fil-A at any point in the day (except Sunday of course) and you will see lines wrapped around the building, blocking traffic,etc. Basically, they aren’t new to this. Let’s take it a step further. The service at a Chick-fil-A does not lack as a result of constant demand. Their employees are borderline angels on earth with the sole purpose of making sure at least while you’re in their presence, you feel valued and respected. Can Popeyes say the same? This is about much more than who has the better chicken sandwich. The real question is who provides the better experience consistently?
Promise to deliver the product you advertise?
Popeyes √ Chick-fil-A √
Actually delivering on the promise to provide the product your advertise?
Popeyes Chick-fil-A √
Popeyes may actually have the better sandwich, but will that be enough to overcome their shortcomings? Time will tell.