Friday, June 24, 2005

Branding – Now that’s What I’m Talkin’ ‘bout!

KFC (that’s Kentucky Fried Chicken, for those of us who knew the brand before fried foods became a curse word) has revamped itself. According to Hub Magazine, KFC management took the brand back to its roots to help reverse a long and serious decline in revenue. Back to its roots meant regaining context with its core customers … people who wear their opinions on their sleeves and have bumper stickers on their cars and are pro NRA. Fried chicken is a meal straight from the ole South. In addition to a new message strategy, KFC also focused its menu on Southern fixings – candied yams, seasoned collard greens and sweet potato pie.

What I admire about this marketing shift is the courage it took to focus on a specific target audience profile and not to try and serve up chicken for the masses. Good marketing has to speak to the individual and do it within the context in which that individual lives. Most marketers strive for mass market share and dilute their messages and products so they appeal to everyone.

This is what I call “lowest common denominator” marketing. Say something that is so broad that it is true for everyone and not true for anyone.

The real gratification for KFC might be that they know they had this courage to do what their best customers wanted. It does not hurt that year over year sales have been growing since the transformation.


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