Challenger Brands Of A Feather, Flock Together

April 28, 2011 | blog | By Mike Sullivan

Ever wonder if your company is a challenger brand? There are lots of ways to tell for sure, but here’s one great measure. Take a challenge facing your brand and consider what the category leaders would do to solve it. If your solution goes against the grain, even when it makes your path that much harder, you’ve got the makings of a great challenger brand.

Chick-fil-A is one of our favorite challenger brands, and yesterday they had yet another defining moment, albeit, a small-feathered one. About five weeks ago, landscapers working around the drive-through of the Chick-fil-A in Audubon, N.J., uncovered a mother duck sitting on a nest of 10 eggs. On further inspection, the eggs were clearly weeks away from hatching, which left Chick-fil-A with an interesting decision.

Welcome to the world baby duck! Welcome to the world baby duck!

They could have called animal control and had them remove the nest. They could have picked up the nest and moved it themselves. They could have ignored it and hoped for the best. Not Chick-fil-A. When the landscapers told the manager about the nest, Chick-fil-A’s first inclination was to build a pen around the nest and the mother to protect her through the gestation of the eggs. For five weeks, employees brought the mother duck food and water and generally did everything they could to watch over her and her ducklings.

The makeshift pen Chick-fil-A made to protect the mother duck and her ducklngs

As reported on this morning’s Today show (and countless other broadcasts across the country), yesterday was the big day, and nine of the ducklings survived their hatching. This morning, Chick-fil-A is making plans to have the whole family moved safely to a nearby pond.

I’m sure the cynics of the world will say Chick-fil-A just did it for the PR, but I don’t think that’s right. Chick-fil-A would have done this 100 times out of 100, because it was the right thing to do. It wasn’t the easiest or the cheapest solution, but it was the best. And doing the right thing, no matter what, is who they are. It’s literally in their DNA. They hire for it and they train to it.

Is it really any coincidence that a company that cares this much about a family of ducks also leads QSR in customer service year after year after year? Nicely done Chick-fil-A!

advertising great leadersbaby duckschallengerchallenger brandchic-fil-aChick-fil-ALoomismarketing

Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


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