Friday, February 10, 2012

It's not always the big things

While this spot and campaign have been around since last August, I just found out about it through an article in today's New York Times.

I like it for a few reasons.

First the strategy.

The marketing guy at Chipotle is smart enough to know that even though 75% of their customers said that taste, value and convenience were the most important reasons they came to Chipotle, none of those attributes are either differentiating or meaningful on their own.

Everybody's food tastes good to someone. Other restaurants are more convenient. And value? Well, we all know how squishy that term is.

So they defined each of those with one message – sustainability.

By saying they work with producers who don't use antibiotics, aren't factory-farm suppliers, and only serve produce that is fresh and sustainably grown, they've made each of those terms meaningful.

The promise of meats from livestock that is raised in a humane manner raises expectations of taste. We all know that if you expect something to taste better, it will in your mind whether it actually does on your tongue.

The promise of supporting family farms and sustainable methods adds value to the experience. You understand that this isn't the cheapest way to make food, but if it's something you believe is important, then it's worth paying a few extra bucks for. Value isn't always about cutting price.

And this approach changes the parameters for convenience. Sure the McDonald's and Taco Bell are closer and probably a little faster, but I can't eat well and do good at either place.

The lesson here? By building your brand around a secondary benefit, you can redefine and add value to the primary benefits in your category, differentiating yourself from the market leaders and transforming customers into advocates for your business.

When you see great markeing like this, it seems simple and obvious. But, as Willie Nelson plaintively sings, nobody said it was easy.

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