In celebrating #thelittlethings to sell chicken in 2021, Chick-fil-A emphasized customer service, respect and authenticity.
As a result of the marketing campaign, Chick-fil-A was recognized as the first winner of the Chicken Marketer of the Year. The all-new Chicken Marketer of the Year award was developed to recognize organizations or companies who demonstrate excellence and innovation in promoting chicken consumption.
The trophy was presented at the 2022 Chicken Marketing Summit, at the Chateau Elan in Braselton, Georgia, on July 25-27.
The Chicken Marketing Summit is the essential networking and educational conference for poultry business leaders. Serving a unique cross section of the chicken supply chain, the Chicken Marketing Summit explores issues and trends in food marketing and consumer chicken consumption patterns and purchasing behavior.
Sponsored by Evonik Corp., the Chicken Marketer of the Year award is presented by WATT Poultry USA, WATTPoultry.com and WATT Global Media.
Marketing chicken through customer service
Although the Chick-fil-A brand is well-known for its chicken sandwiches and waffle fries, the quick service restaurant also places a high value on customer service.
Chick-fil-A knows that it is the little things that build customer loyalty and trust, so its 2021 marketing plan, created by ad agency McCann New York, promoted how #thelittlethings brings people together.
“When you’re in the restaurant business like we are, you get to observe moments every day where people care for one another," the brand said on their website. "We call these #thelittlethings,”
The 2021 advertising campaign showcased true stories and interactions between Chick-fil-A team members and customers sitting on a red couch, highlighting the brand’s dedication to serving customers and local communities. Generally, these spots focused on little things that team members did that makes a big difference.
For example, one ad spot called “#thelittlethings – change” documented how one Chick-fil-A team member returned a customer’s forgotten change when they returned to the restaurant a month later.
Initially, #thelittlethings ads were exclusively designed for use on television, however the campaign was quickly expanded into social media platforms as well to include 30-second #thelittlethings videos on their Facebook and YouTube channels. Along with the campaign videos, Chick-fil-A incorporates a branded hashtag, #thelittlethings, into their social media posts to create ongoing conversations about their campaign and brand.
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s annual restaurant report, Chick-fil-A has the highest customer satisfaction rating compared with over 400 other national chains, leading the industry for the eighth year in a row. The chicken brand received a customer satisfaction score of 84 out of 100.
Chick-fil-A reported record revenue and earnings in 2021. Revenue reached $5.8 billion in 2021 compared to $4.3 billion in 2020, an increase of 33.3%. Comprehensive earnings were $1.2 billion in 2021 compared to $715.9 million in 2020, an increase of 67.3%.
The Atlanta-based quick service chain has approximately 2,709 franchised and company owned restaurant across 47 states, Washington, D.C., Canada and Puerto Rico.
Three finalists recognized
The nominations for the 2022 Chicken Marketer of the Year were highly competitive so the judging committee of industry experts chose to also celebrate the achievements of three additional finalists.
Targeted marketing from organic chicken producer, Shenandoah Valley Organic LLC (SVO), demonstrated the power of the values-driven consumer in 2021. These consumers prioritize meat and poultry products they perceive as better for the animal, planet and worker. SVO's Farmer Focus brand emphasizes the farmers role in raising chicken, while also aligning with increased consumer demand for traceability.
In 2021, Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken set out to “Make Chicken Peace, Not War.” The social media and PR campaign began as a light-hearted way to approach trending food service news when a flood of chicken sandwich introductions by competing brands was dubbed the “chicken sandwich wars.”
Wayne Farms rose to the challenges of 2021 and repeatedly demonstrated the ability to drive continued growth and expansion by activating against market insights and macro trends. The Marketing team led the development of the Amazing Starts with Me (ASWM) campaign to unite our 9,000 employees with one vision of being “An Amazing Chicken Company.” Although ASWM started out as an internal program, it was well received by the employees and incorporated into the company’s Corporate Responsibility Report to reflect the ASWM program to an external audience.