Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Chick-fil-A has MOOJo

What is up with Chick-fil-A? Every time I go there it is packed! Doesn't matter what time of day or what day (except Sunday because they are closed on Sundays). The drive-thru is constantly lined up all the way around the restaurant and people are piled up inside eating. Burger King and Wendy's next door don't have lines. Their parking lots aren't full. It would be easier to go to Burger King or Wendy's and not fight the Chick-fil-A crowd.

So what is it about Chick-fil-A?

I think it's because they've found their MooJo! Despite the struggling economy Chick-fil-A enjoyed unprecedented growth in 2008 - up 12% over 2007. Since its inception in 1967 Chick-fil-A has had 41 consecutive years of system wide sales gains. Amazing!

How did they find their MooJo? Here's what I think:

  • Consistent message. I know that Chick-fil-A is family oriented. The restaurant has done a good job of staying true to their core values and the biblical principles of the founder, S. Truett Cathy. All Chick-fil-A restaurants are closed on Sundays, without exception. They have Tuesday family nights where kids meals are half price and child entertainers perform (my kids beg to go). The "toys" in their kids meals are educational books about people of character.

  • Catchy tagline. Their "Eat Mor Chikin" cows are part of an award winning advertising campaign. I know you've seen the billboards with the 3 dimensional cows and misspelled words. And my kids yell out, "Eat more chicken," between each verse when singing Happy Birthday!

  • Great local marketing. Getting children to pull their parents into the restaurant is clever. When my kids reach their reading goal at school they receive a Chick-fil-A coupon for a free kids meal. When my kids completed their week at Vacation Bible School they received a coupon for a free kids meal. When I joined the PTA at my kids' school I received a coupon for a free adult meal. When our PTA needed a fundraiser they agreed to a family night where a percentage of proceeds would be donated to our school.

I think Chick-fil-A puts their MOOney where their mouth is. (Sorry for that one - couldn't resist!). They spend money in a way that stays consistent with their brand and their community involvement aligns with their core values. So I say, "Eat more chicken!"

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thank You Inc. Magazine

Wow! I was excited to see my letter to the editor of Inc. Magazine was actually noticed! Jane Berentson, Inc.'s Senior Editor, used my comments in the first sentence of her article this month. Click here to read her comments.

Other than trade magazines within your industry, a few magazines I recommend to help jazz up the sales of your business are Inc., Entrepreneur and People magazine. (Yes, People!).

In his book, Duct Tape Marketing, John Jantsch says, "...the one place I turn to keep myself rooted in how the world thinks and buys...is People magazine." For about 20 years more people turn to People than any other magazine. Jantsch goes on to list 3 reasons to read, or at least scan, People magazine.

  1. Get a feel for what the majority of Americans want to fight, find, lose, gain, have, give or embrace.

  2. See design copy that is easy to scan, read and digest.

  3. Uncover story angles that could apply to your organization's PR.

Now when my weekly People magazine arrives in my mailbox I retreat to my office to read it because I'm doing marketing research!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Words are Powerful

I cringed this week when I witnessed 2 sales being snuffed out! In both cases, the sales could have been probable with a small change in words.

Here's what happened:

Snuff out #1. I was shopping for a Father's Day gift in a men's clothing store. After looking around for several minutes I had not found any medium sized shirts in the store. Puzzled, I asked the store clerk if they had any mediums.
  • What she said: She looked up from writing and said very matter-of-factly, "EVERYTHING we have is OUT" and looked back down at what she was doing. I felt like I was in trouble for asking and left the store.

  • What she should have said, "We have all of our merchandise out but let me show you where you can find the mediums."
Snuff out #2: I was sitting at the dance studio waiting on my daughter to finish her Hip-Hop class. I hear the phone ring and the dance studio receptionist answer the phone.
  • What she said: "We don't have our Fall Schedule made up yet. If you call back in August we will have it and I can give you class times then."

  • What she should have said: "We don't have our Fall Schedule made up yet. Give me your name and phone number (or email address) and we will notify you when the Fall Schedule is out so you can sign up."

In both cases, a small tweak of wording would have changed the outcome to be more favorable for the business involved. So, while I'm at it, here are a few other phrases that I try not to use because of the words:

  • "No problem." Instead of using these words I say, "I will be glad to," or "Glad to do it." Or you can say, "It will be my pleasure," or "Glad to help." When we say, "No problem" all the listener hears is the word "problem" and the phrase insinuates the customer's request could be a problem.

  • "Here's the problem..." Customers don't want to hear the problem (they know what it is). They want to hear the solution. Use words like "challenge" or "opportunity." These words imply action. You can say, "Our challenge here is ...blah, blah, blah, or "We have an opportunity to..."

  • "To be honest with you." Sometimes this phrase pops out naturally, but I said this to a customer early in my career and his retort was, "Don't say that! Does that mean you aren't always being honest with me?"
If you want to read more about powerful words, read this article How Your Choice of Words or Phrases can Make or Break a Sale