People here at VantagePoint will tell you that I am a big fan of Chick-fil-A. On my way to a client meeting yesterday, I had only a few minutes to grab a quick bite. I had two options: Chick-fil-A or another leading fast food restaurant that I won’t mention by name. Because of my brand loyalty to Chick-fil-A, I was able to make the decision quickly and pulled into their parking lot. What happened next really made a significant impression (and hence the reason for this blog entry).
I noticed that there were only five cars in the competitor’s parking lot next door, and this was at 1:30 in the afternoon. However, in Chick-fil-A’s parking lot and drive-through there were well over 30! So how can that be, given both are established brands and right next to each other?
From my perspective, it comes down to four key elements:
- their people
- their quality product, which is always consistent
- their environment, which is always welcoming and clean, and
- their processes, which help them stay incredibly efficient.
I don’t know about you, but at Chick-fil-A, a full parking lot and a large number of cars in the drive-through don’t scare me, because I know I can still get in and out very quickly. So what does that have to do with B2B marketing? Everything!
If you think your product is the major driving force to help you achieve your sales, think again. I have seen some great products that never saw the light of day, or never reached their full potential, because the company fell into the trap of thinking that the product itself would carry the day. While you have to have a solid product to be successful (just like Chick-fil-A), you can’t rely on it solely (just like Chick-fil-A). Much of what wins the customer over and over are the intangibles. For Chick-fil-A, it’s all about the customer experience. What is it for your brand? What are you doing to make your company and its products more successful?
Ironically, at the client meeting I was at 30 minutes after my lunch, we discussed one of their key branding attributes: their ability to customize and ship 86% of their orders the same day! This has become a huge component of their “reliability” brand. They realized that while quality is foundational, it wasn’t going to be a huge differentiator. How they service the customer is. In their industry they knew that quick turnaround was critical, so they made the necessary manufacturing changes. It was about a highly important intangible that the customer valued.
Remember, your brand is shaped more by how your brand is experienced than by what you communicate to the marketplace. How seriously are you looking for ways to increase the value of your brand? Remember, start with what the customer values and then shape your brand around this. Take a lesson from Chick-fil-A and the client I visited. Align well with what matters to your customers.
If you need help in aligning your brand, visit our website or give me a call at 864-331-1260. We have the tools to help.