25Apr, 2014

Keeping a Brand Youthful ala KFC

Oleh Indira Abidin
When I was in elementary school, my classmates loved to celebrate their birthday at KFC which we used to call “Kentucky”.  “Eating at Kentucky” was a very trendy thing, especially when Mc Donald had not been present in Indonesia. As time goes by, lots of brands that were popular then seemed to be dull, old, and eventually lost in time. Yet, it didn’t happen to KFC. Up to now, KFC remains dynamic, interesting in all its promo, and always fresh and young. So, what’s the secret?  

1. Research. 
KFC regularly monitors its position in the market, evaluates various consumers’ inputs, and maintains the uniqueness of the brand. From the research, KFC directly assesses the quality of  its services, products, and facilities, finds out theconsumers’ perceptions and expectations on the  brand image of  KFC and competitors. In 2005, the research revealed that KFC’s reputation and sales were decreasing. Then KFC conducted an in-depth research to determine the revitalization strategy. It then determined a new strategy that focused on the “taste” to attract families and those who were “young at heart.”

2. Revitalization Strategy.

The name “KFC” was developed in 1991 to avoid the image generated by the word “fried”. Changing its name to KFC had many other benefits to its marketing because it was simpler and easier to remember. The ad easily brought the image to the mind of global consumers.

As a part of the brand revitalization campaign in 2007, the name “Kentucky Fried Chicken” was re-attached on all KFC’s packaging to emphasize the one-of-a-kind yummy taste of its fried chicken. Family was made the focus and the main target, with the mother as the decision maker. Products, packaging, promotion, and media were aimed at mothers. Ones who were young at heart became the second target which was reached by a different set of communication resources.

KFC offered new menus to help mothers to take care of their families as well as to provide more choices for those who were young at heart. The goal was that both groups of targets would visit KFC more often and buy more products on every arrival, and to avoid cannibalizing sales of the existing menus. All menus were tested quantitatively and qualitatively in several outlets.

The campaigns to target the two different groups were done through ads introducing new menus, promotions, communications in restaurants, and many other channels. All staffs were trained to be new brand ambassadors to give brand experience that was energetic, cheerful, and fun.

The strategy was proven to be successful in increasing sales and reputation and thus, it gained its global popularity back. Globally, the greatest success relied on KFC’s success to penetrate the family group, which indicates the success of marketing strategies targeted at this group.  

3. Maintaining the consistency of global quality and local uniqueness of KFC brand

One thing that always makes KFC unique and superior is the one-of-a-kind taste of the chicken. We come to know the term “Kentucky chicken” to describe the crispy fried chicken with signature KFC spices. “Kentucky Chicken” became a generic name in Indonesian homes. People go to KFC for “the tasty chicken”. It is then maintained to be the uniqueness of KFC. They position themselves as “the master of chicken”. Mc Donald might say that it is “the master of burger” but as far as fried chicken is concerned, nothing can beat KFC. KFC established its brand value as CHAMPS, an acronym for Cleanliness, Hospitality, Accuracy, Maintenance, Product Quality and Speed of Service.

KFC makes sure that CHAMPS is applied at all its outlets in various countries to maintain the quality of its leadership as “the master of chicken”. CHAMPS strategy provides very stringent regulations in the day-to-day operations. These regulations establish global consistency of quality and customer satisfaction in different markets throughout the world. Wherever they are, customers know what eating experience they will get. They will also gain consistent level of satisfaction. Besides CHAMPS, KFC is also implementing local culture strategy, in which KFC conducts a research on local culinary consumption habits and adapts them in the local outlets. It allows consumers to enjoy culinary experience they usually enjoy as citizens in the country, with the service quality of KFC.  

4. Build and maintain brand leadership. KFC builds awareness with its logo, Colonel Sanders’s cheerful smile. KFC brand identity consists of:   
  • Brand as product (flavor, recipe, chicken, quality)  
  • Brand as place ( fresh outlets, welcoming, informal, energetic, warm)  
  • Brand as symbol (Colonel Sanders, the bucket of chicken, red and white , Finger Lickin’ Good)  
  • Brand as service (genuine friendliness, attention and promptness, dedication to quality)  
The brand identity of the various aspects is maintained in order to continually build brand value consistency and KFC’s brand personality. Powered by the brand performance on the product and service, brand image, assessment and the feelings evoked, the overall identity is intended to constantly increase customers’ loyalty. The established brand image is friendly, savory, young, and creative. KFC brand seeks to build trust and credibility, evoke feelings of being fun loving and  playful. KFC is one of the brands in Indonesia that still leads and even continues to expand in times of crisis by imposing mobile defense strategies, increasing sales and reducing costs. This strategy keeps them expanding on the potential markets as defense or attack in the future. Promotion and marketing strategies are geared to increase instant transactions and sales, supported by economical packages and service delivery. With this marketing strategy, KFC brand continues to lead even in conditions of crisis, when many other brands fade away. When economic conditions improve, they have a stronger position to lead the market. 

5. Music marketing

KFC Indonesia formed KFC Music Factory and invited a lot of indie bands to join to make the albums. The albums become popular in Indonesia. Juliette, one of the successful albums, was chosen to be the brand ambassador of KFC and resulting in tens of billions of rupiah in sales. KFC also created Music Hitters, a music community for customers who purchase the CDs, incorporated in www.kfcmusichitlist.com and provide weekly SMSes that can be compensated with KFC’s economical packages.  

Well, what about your brand? Do not forget to keep making it appear young and attractive. Do not let your brand to disappear in time.

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