How Fast Food Restaurants Got Branding Right

I was sitting on the couch having a lazy Sunday this past weekend when it seemed every other commercial was about fast food. When I wasn’t mesmerized by the delicious food on the screen, I was picking up a theme in all these fast food commercials: people of importance as spokespeople for the company brand. In an age where it’s hard to build loyalty and trust in fast food restaurants because of the negative connotations and the immense variety of deals and food options, strong fast food brands need to show consumers that they are more like their customers as they seem. Brands need to put the consumers first and try to build a relationship with them.

Domino’s CEO J. Patrick Doyle

Domino’s: Over the past couple of months, I’ve noticed a lot of change in the Domino’s marketing campaigns. While, yes, the commercials focus on the pizzas and other goodies Domino’s makes, another equally important focus is the man in the commercials – new Domino’s CEO J. Patrick Doyle. I think including Doyle in the commercials is not only enlightening because it shows he’s a man much like his consumers, I think it is also very smart. His presence shows consumers he is a working man much like the rest of them, and is shows he is trying to put a face to the Domino’s company.

Wendy Thomas of Wendy’s

Wendy’s: Back home, I am a Frosty fiend. Whenever I pass a Wendy’s, there is a strong possibility that the next minute I’ll be in the drive-thru waiting to get myself a snack. The red-headed girl on the cups, bags and signs never caught my attention until I grew older. After the realization that Wendy was a real person I always asked “Who is the real Wendy?” Finally, it has been answered. Recent commercials have featured the red-headed Wendy herself, although she’s slightly older than the little girl in the logo. Much like Domino’s, I think this is a great strategy because the consumers are getting to know the people behind the scenes of the company. Plus, what better way to brand the company than with Wendy herself?


John Schattner of Papa John's

Papa John’s

Papa John’s: Continuing with this theme, one cannot help it but to think of Papa John’s. For as long as I can remember, the Papa John’s commercials have featured Papa John’s spokesperson and founder, John Schnatter, more commonly known as Papa John. Much like the previous two examples, John is featured in nearly every commercial allowing him to talk directly to his consumers. What I like about this branding strategy is that John has been the face of the brand since its founding in 1984. I have learned to trust John because of the strong presence he has built in the company.

TIP: In every class I’ve taken and every brand I’ve examined there has always been a common theme for a company – get to know your customers. Of course I believe this and think this is an extremely important step in creating a trustworthy brand. However, I think many companies are failing to do the opposite of that – let your customers get to know you. The reason I think these three fast food companies have been so successful among the seemingly never-ending list of fast food restaurants is because they have gone further than getting to know their customers. Letting the customers get to know the “big boys” of the company builds trust in consumers because if the CEO is backing of the products of the company, the consumers are more willing to try it out for themselves.

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Exploring The Kellogg’s Brand

My love for branding wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Kellogg’s and Krocodile Krunch. So naturally, Kellogg’s is one of my all-time favorite brands. It may be corny to say that without Kellogg’s my passion for branding would be non-existent, but the truth is, it probably would! It’s crazy that one brand can change a girl’s life.

One thing I love about Kellogg’s is that the brand isn’t scared to point out that it has some flaws. On their corporate website, they have pages called “Challenges We Face” to explain what Kellogg’s struggles with and offers how they are trying to fix the challenges. I think this is so important for a brand because it is transparent and consumers can relate to it. No one is perfect, so why should a brand try to be?

Kellogg's Logo

Kellogg’s Logo

Kellogg’s is unique in that it created its own philanthropy, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Since its creation, it has raised $5.5 billion in grants to support children, families and communities to help strengthen conditions to make children more successful as individuals. I think it’s great that a company as strong as Kellogg’s is going back to its roots and following its founder’s mission to give back to the community.

On top of its own philanthropy, Kellogg’s contributes and donates to many other non-profits and charitable organizations around the world, like American Red Cross and Action for Healthy Kids. They helped provide disaster relief from the Japan and Haiti earthquakes. They also promote children’s healthy eating by providing the means to encourage students to participate in school breakfast programs to eat healthy.

I think what makes Kellogg’s a unique brand is that it uses many different platforms to give back to the consumers. It gives grants to support success in children, as well as gives donations to various organizations to help create a better way of life. It also is a big component in world hunger, helping students at schools, as well as teaming up with
corporations like Walmart to end the cause. As all food companies do and should
continue doing, Kellogg’s has a strong position on healthy eating.  I think the care this brand shows for its consumers and the transparency it provides for its consumers are two components that make this brand so successful and blog-worthy to me.

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The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree – The Apple Brand

This post is all about Apple. I’ll admit, I was anti-Apple because I thought it was the cool thing to be, but after much pressure from my friends and feeling like an outcast, I caved and bought my first Apple product – and my world was forever changed.

 I love the Apple brand because it is much like one of its founders, Steve Jobs. Steve was known as a visionary, as legendary and as an innovator. When I look at the Apple brand, all I can think of is adjectives like those and many more. Apple is innovative. When one product comes out, the company might stop and give itself a pat on the back, but then is back to work to start a new product or make new improvements.

Much like my other favorite brands, Apple does a lot to ensure it leaves a small environmental footprint. There is a whole division of Apple dedicated to monitoring its environmental impact. I think it is important for companies to be aware of their environmental influence, and I think Apple does a fantastic job monitoring it and explaining it to concerned consumers.

 Under the direction of Tim Cook, the new Apple CEO, Apple has transformed itself into a charitable company. I feel like every time I pick up the newspaper there is a new donation made for advancement in technology, education or health care. A company as large and as successful as Apple builds great brand recognition through things like donations and environmental consciousness and proves it is more than an electronic company.

 I cannot talk about the Apple brand without talking about its iconic logo. I think it is incredible that the Apple logo is recognized nearly everywhere in the world and the Apple name isn’t even included. It’s impressive that people know they are buying a quality product by simply seeing a common fruit.

 Why does Apple stand out? Innovation and dedication. Apple continues to provide superior products, while at the same time is dedicated to new ideas, environmental awareness and societal duties through donations. Apple with continue to strive because it is constantly introducing new products as well as giving to the community.

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A Company Is Much More Than The Products It Offers – Exploring The Kohl’s Brand

Continuing posts on my favorite brands, I am going to explain why Kohl’s is one of the greatest. I believe Kohl’s has continuously proven itself to be a superior brand through the many different platforms it uses to reach the community. 

  • Kohl’s Cares: I think this charity is extremely successful. It is unique because it doesn’t focus all of its efforts on one issue, but instead raises awareness for three causes, and promotes them in vastly different ways. The three causes are: Kids’ Health and Education, Advancing in Environmental Solutions and Women’s Health. There is a fourth branch of Kohl’s Cares where associates can volunteer, called Associates in Action, and it has been extremely successful and has raised over $35 million since its start in 2001. Whether selling stuffed animals (which I have way more than I would like to admit) or building environmentally friendly buildings, Kohl’s Cares strives to not only give back but look ahead.
  • Kohl’s On Campus: This part of Kohl’s focuses on new talent and fresh brand ideas. I really like this part of the brand because they make it personal. For example, last semester in my marketing class, representatives from Kohl’s came to teach a lecture on current marketing strategies. It is refreshing to know that people from large companies like Kohl’s will take the time out of their schedules to educate students about the business. Kohl’s on Campus also offers many opportunities for students to grow and be a part of the company, through internships and jobs. I think new opportunities and new ideas are crucial for any brand to be successful, and Kohl’s does an exemplary job creating these.
  • New Brands: One last thing that contributes to the success of the Kohl’s brand is fresh ideas. Kohl’s is constantly adding new merchandise that is created by various people and organizations with hopes that all customers are reached. For example, The Food Network, Bobby Flay and Kitchen Aid all offer kitchen accessories, but all have slightly different features to ensure all customers are satisfied.

So how do you generate the same success as Kohl’s? Try to reach everyone. And I’m not saying offer merchandise that can satisfy Kohl's Logoeveryone (This is extremely important in even sparking interest in the brand so still do it!) – I’m saying try to reach everyone on a personal level. When someone shops at Kohl’s they buy a product and they buy into an experience. So, when someone shops at Kohl’s they should believe the slogan and “Expect Great Things.” A company is so much more than the products that it offers and Kohl’s is superior because it understands this.

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Be Like Nike and “Just Do It”

Just Do It. It’s so simple. Still, the Nike brand is able to take this slogan and turn it into a movement. I wouldn’t consider myself a serious athlete (walking to class is as athletic as I get) but even I can appreciate the phrase and will use it in my everyday life like, when writing papers, when not wanting to roll out of bed, or when contemplating doing laundry. Although I never really want to do any of these, I mentally hear “Just Do It” and immediately go about my day.

This brand is much more than a slogan though. For one, the mission is “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world.” Notice the disclaimer. Nike wants to ensure everyone is included in their brand, and says: If you have a body, you are an athlete. Well, there you go, I guess I am an athlete.

I think the Nike Foundation is one of the all-time best foundations. Not only is is targeting youth, but is being more specific and targeting young girls. I think this is great because when I think of sports, I think of football, baseball, soccer, track, etc. and usually link it with male athletes.  Nike is helping push female potential – both on and off the fields. Focusing on young, impoverished women, the Nike brand is breaking it’s stereotypical male brand and breaking new ground.

I also love this brand because of the hope and aspiration it brings to people. Michael Jordan has his own brand of Nike’s, and now young basketball players want to buy the product to be “Like Mike.” Nike sponsors Tiger Woods, Derek Jeter and Lance Armstrong, and now young people want to achieve their same levels of skills. I’ve included a video that I believe sums up what the Nike brand stands for. Although it’s made specifically for the Air Jordan brand, I believe that the message it gives is the same.

As you can see, the Nike brand is hard at work to bring superior service to everyone. When it’s not launching a new product, it ‘s creating a Twitter/Facebook campaign (like the new #makeitcount campaign) to get others involved in the brand.  And it goes above and beyond to support young, impoverished women to grow their potential and give them a better life. So, my dear readers, “Just Do It.” Do whatever you’ve been putting off for another day. Do what you’ve had on your bucket list for years but you’ve never had the guts to attempt. Do it because the Nike brand encourages you to

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My Favorite Brands

Over the course of the next few weeks I want to give you my opinions on my five all-time favorite brands. I like these brands for very different reasons yet they all use some of the same basic strategies to expose their brand to consumers. These brands go above and beyond to provide superior products as well as give back to their consumers and community. Here are the five brands that I will be discussing:

  1. Coke
  2. Nike
  3. Kohl’s
  4. Apple
  5. Kellogg’s

I’ve already enlightened you on why I love the Coca-Cola brand (read here) so my next post will be exploring Nike and why it is so great! Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy!

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NGOs are brands, too!

Per request of a friend, this newest post gives my thoughts of branding strategies for non-governmental organizations (NGOs). While all NGOs use a great branding strategy to promote whatever issue they stand for, the two I will be talking about are close to my heart and have continued to present their brands effectively.

World Wildlife FundMy name is Amanda, so naturally my favorite animal growing up was a panda bear – so original. BeforWorld Wildlife Fund Logoe Ieven understood what WWF was, my clothes and stuffed animals had the panda logo. Now whenever I see the iconic panda bear, I understand that the items I am purchasing and the event or program that it’s sponsoring is helping raise both awareness and funds for the Earth’s wild life. While unfortunately its initials are linked to those of the World Wrestling Federation, the organization has created a brand that successfully differentiates the two, and blows the other organization out of the water. With a mission statement reading “building a future in which people live in harmony with nature,” the brand this organization wants to portray is clearly understood, and very admirable. I think a great thing WWF does to promote its brand is enable people to get involved in any way they want, helping ensure their mission is carried out.

Special OlympicsThe Special Olympics Organization is by far my favorite organization. This organization has branded itself to strive for equality for everyone with a special disability and also celebrate and embrace the differences between everyone. I’ve been a Special Olympics LogoSpecial Olympics volunteer for as long as I can remember, and nothing has been more rewarding than helping the athletes. They’ve taught me valuable life lessons and some of the friendships I’ve created while participating in this organization are some of the greatest I’ve ever known. What I love about the Special Olympics brand is that it always updates people about what is going on with the organization. Whether it’s to get involved or it’s revealing personal stories of athletes, Special Olympics is maintaining good relations among followers, like myself, to get them the latest news. I think social media is crucial for brand awareness in this day in age, and the Special Olympics does a fantastic job in incorporating their mission into Facebook, Twitter, a blog and YouTube sites. When I want to find out how to get involved I can simply check their Twitter feed to see what is going on around me. I also love that Special Olympics introduces participants to their favorite athletes, including Michael Jordan and Apolo Ohno – it makes the whole experience come together. Overall, the brand this organization has built is one that is trustworthy and has fostered the “acceptance and inclusion of all people.”

A brand is more than a mission statement. It’s more than a logo and it’s more than a service. A brand is an experience. For WWF and Special Olympics, the experiences people have when participating in these organization are ones that are rewarding and make differences. While all NGOs are created for the greater good, I think these two organizations have produced brands that exemplify professional and meaningful service.

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