Brands might not always seem like they dictate what we purchase, but they do, even if we don’t realize it. Brandanew describes branding as a, “complex topic that combines elements of consumer psychology with the tenets of marketing.” More often than not, emotion influences what brands people buy. That’s probably why you’re still drawn towards the same brand of toothpaste or milk that your mom bought you as a kid. Brands are picking up on this and are starting to use it to their advantage. Many brands with already established names such as Chick-Fil-A, Google, and Coca Cola have completely moved their advertisements away from talking about the product itself, and instead focused in on the emotions.
A brand that really stands out to me when it comes to emotional and values-based branding is Chick-Fil-A. This chain of chicken-joints makes it very clear to their customers and employees what their values are and that they will always stick to them. In 1946 Truett Cathy opened the first Chick-Fil-A in Hapeville, Georgia. According to the Chick-Fil-A website, Cathy decided that the restraint would be closed on Sundays to allow for Sundays to be for rest and worship. Every Chick-Fil-A still abides by this every day. That’s not the only way that Chick-Fil-A shows their strong Christian values. The food chain funds a charity called the WinShape Foundation that offers counseling to married couples. The foundation, however, does not offer service to same-sex couples. When this came to light in 2011, the public was outraged. According to the Washington Post, Dan Cathy, current CEO of Chick-Fil-A responded, “We’re inviting God’s judgement on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.” Following these statements, many celebrities and public officials claimed they would boycott Chick-Fil-A. Despite not everyone agreeing with their values, Chick-Fil-A remains strong in what they believe in. The company was built by a devout Christian and the company stands on Christian values.
While it is their unwavering values that make people dislike Chick-Fil-A, it is the same values that make people come back for more. Aligning with their Christian attitudes, Chick-Fil-A demands certain standards of their employees and restaurant atmosphere. Chick-Fil-A employees are required to respond with “my pleasure” instead of “you’re welcome” to create a kinder and more positive customer experience. Additionally, Chick-Fil-A employees are known to be always extremely polite, smiling, and they can even be seen standing in the rain taking orders to customers in the drive through. Such behavior has even launched an abundance of internet memes about how nice Chick-Fil-A employees can be.
Chick-Fil-A does not keep their brand a secret. They live it in everything they do from big company decisions to little things they employees do every day. Since their product, or their food, has already been established, they now focus their advertisements around emotion. The biggest marketing campaign for Chick-Fil-A is a cow or multiple cows wearing a sign that say, “EAT MOR CHIKIN.” This doesn’t necessarily tell the customer anything about Chick-Fil-A or its chicken, but it’s a funny and memorable image that sticks in people’s minds.
Their values come into their advertising more around Christmas time, which makes sense since it’s a Christian holiday. This past Christmas Chick-Fil-A’s commercial went viral. It was a rather long ad of an animated story where a little girl goes into a clock and enters a new world. She learns about the value of time and when she returns to her home, encourages her family to spend more time together. The ad ends with the whole family building a snowman together outside. By watching the ad, a viewer would have no idea what brand or company it was for until the last few seconds when the Chick-Fil-A logo is displayed on the screen. The ad tells nothing about the product, but it does appeal to the emotional values of the company. When someone watches that ad and then associates it with Chick-Fil-A, they associate family, value of quality time, and happiness with the Chick-Fil-A brand. Although it may not say that Chick-Fil-A has the best chicken ever, the ad perfect appeals to consumers’ emotions and reflects the company’s values.