February 19, 2020
Since its Aug. 12, 2019, debut, the Popeye’s fried chicken sandwich has been quite the craze. This frenzy was no accident: GUT, Popeyes’ Louisiana Kitchen’s marketing agency, implemented some seriously effective strategy with impeccable timing and grace over the past six months.
In deconstructing a strategy utilized by a fast food chain to create hype around their sandwich, we gain a deeper insight into how we can push the boundaries and limitations within our own organizations.
Let’s look at three things we can take away from Popeyes’ methods to help our own branding in 2020:
In looking at Popeye’s Twitter account, it takes all of 30 seconds to hear the sassy, southern voice every post speaks with. It’s relatable, snarky, seemingly unfiltered and gives a feel for the personality behind each post. This personality is iconic to their brand and gives something fans relate to and engage with in fun ways. So, how can we have a better personality in our own brands?
After Popeyes released their chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A, the self-proclaimed inventor of the chicken sandwich, was quick to tweet a passive aggressive response, to which Popeyes responded, “…Y’all Good?”
Hilarious, simple — and brilliant.
Fans jumped at the opportunity to make fun of Chick-fil-A, and so began a social media battle between the two rivals. Not to mention Popeyes sold out of their chicken sandwich almost immediately and has since managed to maintain attention on the new sandwich for months.
Being funny goes a long way. In the age of social media, transparency has continued to grow in value for consumers. Raw, unedited controversy is perfect for social platforms, when previously many brands benefitted from keeping a generic, professional tone to garnish public respect.
“Laughter is a universal language and one of our first communication methods. Before we had spoken or written language, humans used laughter to express our enjoyment or accession with a certain situation,” writes Angie Pascale for ClickZ.
What are some ways we can bring humor into brand identity?
Popeye’s brilliant ideas didn’t stop with social media battles and witty remarks.
They took it one step further and jumped on Beyoncé’s popular new clothing line, Ivy Park, when the star unveiled a new partnership with Adidas. The resulting Ivy Park x Adidas line features simple athletic pieces in similar colors to Popeyes’ uniform colors — and the Popeye’s marketing team noticed.
By releasing the uniforms for purchase online as “That Look From Popeyes” with stylish photos, a sharp website, and noting 100 percent of the proceeds would be donated to their charitable foundation, the fast food company sold out of their own uniforms. Plus, they raised money for a good cause and continued the hype around their brand.
What are some ways we can learn to respond to social trends in similarly creative ways?
Overall, there is a lot we can learn from looking beyond our own organizational bubbles and seeking influence from outside industries. Creativity and innovation are sparked by the exchange and application of these new ideas.
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