I love Chick-fil-A. In my book, their Chicken Sandwiches are only surpassed by Turkey Sandwiches. I also love their marketing. Chick-fil-A has found a great mix of mass media and word-of-mouth. Their “Eat More Chick’n” billboards have reached and almost iconic status. Chick-fil-A has also demonstrated that they are one of the top word-of-mouth marketing practitioners as they have launched their new Spicy Chicken Sandwich.
What did they do right?
They built tension and anticipation – Chick-fil-A teased their existing consumer base for weeks by promoting a countdown to the launch of the sandwich on Facebook and on banners as consumers made their order in the drive-thru. It would have been easy to just launch it and make it available, but instead, they were disciplined and created a simple word-of-mouth opportunity.
Company execs told consumers why they were launching the sandwich – It’s pretty simple, but when consumers know why a brand, product or line extension exists, it allows them to authentically share stories about it.
Discussion was encouraged – It’s not all that risky to launch a Spicy Chicken Sandwich, but Chick-fil-A opened up the lines of conversation and as of this post, over 1600 comments were posted on their Facebook page.
Chick-fil-A created scarcity and a VIP event – Perceived scarcity and elevating the attention to loyal/heavy users are two classic word-of-mouth marketing strategies. Leading up to the event, Chick-fil-A accomplished both in one effort: they gave consumers the opportunity to make an appointment for their Spicy Chicken Sandwich. It’s common for the Chick-fil-A drive thru to have a long line, but reservations for a fast food restaurant? That’s unheard of and they did it. The consumers who participated walked away with a great experience that they will share with others.
Chick-fil-A does a lot of other things right in their marketing. For more information, check out my collection of articles on Chick-Fil-A marketing.