If you’re a healthy food brand struggling to market yourself, take a cue from the brands that have been doing it with success.
An excellent place to start doing that is here, the nominees of Food News Media’s inaugural HALO awards, which seek to recognize restaurant chains for making “genuinely positive contributions, through both menu and messaging, to a Healthy, Active Lifestyle for consumers.”
“But these are just fast food chains,” you say. “What can a fast food brand teach me about marketing in an industry where health and wellness is top of mind? Why should I care what a brand like Chik-Fil-A does?”
Despite a ton of press around Chik-fil-A’s polarizing politics, the brand’s business and communications appear to be a bright spot.
Any brand that spends seven years and more than $50 million testing a healthier grilled chicken recipe, like Chik-fil-A just did, is doing something right and deserves some recognition. That’s seven years and more than $50 million that could have been spent researching ways to sell more product, open more locations, and put out communications in favor of their (then) less healthy menu items, but instead was spent listening to their consumers and their desire for an option that both fit their healthy lifestyle and that didn’t taste awful. They even developed their own kind of grill specifically for their new grilled chicken.
Food News Media explains its initiation of the HALO awards by saying that “chain restaurants should get the widespread recognition they deserve for encouraging health and activity, and…the positive coverage winners receive will spur further innovations.” I say it’s an awesome idea.
So what has your brand done in the name of health lately?
Or, more crucially, what has your brand done in the name of health and shared lately? Because that’s what’s just as important for your brand’s image in the minds of your consumers—not only that you make the effort to offer a more health-conscious product but that you announce it to the masses and are proud of it.
And for Chik-fil-A it’s paid off. A recent USA Today article commends the brand:
“The chicken chain with more than $5 billion in annual sales is listening and responding to the needs of Millennials by promising to remove antibiotics from the chicken, high fructose corn syrup from its dressings and perhaps even plastic from its serving trays.”
Chik-fil-A proves that if you listen well to your consumers, great things will happen. All the buzz around the brand’s do-good, pro-Millennial attitude has potential investors salivating at the possibility of a long-awaited Chik-fil-A IPO this year.
But there’s your lesson; you can either be the brand that changes the norm or you can change your norm because of other brands. You’ll have to pick one—or risk being left behind.