By Brian Patterson on Aug 16, 2012 0
Disclaimer: This is my opinion on the impact that recent events will have on Chick-Fil-A as a brand. It is not an opinion for or against what Chick-Fil-A’s CEO has stated, merely what I think the fallout from those statements will be, long-term.
For about a week in early August, you couldn’t turn your head without hearing some sort of debate on Chick-Fil-A. There were (and are) a lot of strong opinions on both sides, and that has fed a media frenzy around the subject. I was interviewed shortly after the grassroots ‘Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day’ by Allison Bourg of the Capital Gazette, a DC-based newspaper. She was interested in my thoughts on the long term impact this would have on the brand for an upcoming story.
The opinion I shared is the one that I still hold: That this will long be an interesting case study for people in the marketing and reputation industry, but everyone else will have forgotten about all of this in a year. Specifically, one of my quotes she used was:
In 12 months, hardly anyone will talk about this or remember much about it.
I’ll try to remember to do an informal survey this time next year to see how much of a recollection people have of all of this hoopla. But, I do have some early evidence to support my opinion that everyone will have moved on.
Here is a chart from Google Trends showing the ‘search demand’ for the term ‘Chick-Fil-A’ over the last 30 days. Essentially, this is a simple graph of how many people are searching the company name on a daily basis.
You’ll see a spike around the ‘Appreciation day’ event followed by a sharp decline in traffic, to the point now where there is very little search demand (relatively speaking) for their brand name. It is not definitive evidence, but I think it supports the notion that Chick-Fil-A won’t suffer long term damage nor will people remember the incident.
There are a few other cases that help form my opinion here. They are:
I think, in a year or so, Chick-Fil-A will just be another name on the list of companies that had a misstep but worked through it and are stronger than ever.