By: Dontaye Carter
The one day my family craves Chick-fil-A the most, ironically, is on Sundays after we leave church in Marietta, GA. We drive past at least 10 Chick-fil-A restaurants before we enter our neighborhood in Sandy Springs, GA. The conversation occurs every Sunday like clockwork:
Wife: “Babe, I could go for some Chick-fil-A right now.”
Me: “On a Sunday?”
My wife giggles and responds: “I know they’re closed. I just love the restaurant and their values.”
The foundation of Chick-fil-A was built on the faith of the restaurant’s founder, Truett Cathy. He decided to close on Sundays to honor the day of rest and worship. These were the principals that current Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy held onto when he found himself in the headlines in July 2012. Cathy stated he was “guilty as charged” in response to a reporter asking whether the company was in “support of the traditional family.” The response led to nationwide boycotts of the restaurant. On the day of the boycott, Chick-fil-A posted record-setting sales.
What did we learn from Chick-fil-A? Their brand has been consistent since 1946. The company was built on Christian values; and despite how societal views have changed towards those values, Chick-fil-A held firmly to their brand or Truett Cathy's story of faith and service. For decades, people have connected with Truett Cathy’s brand, or his promise to use his faith to provide the best service six days a week and rest on the seventh day.
Bottomline: Good food doesn’t mean anything if the service sucks. Customers want authenticity. Despite how people viewed Hugh Heffner, he provided an attractive product to his customers. In 1953, he was courageous enough tap into the adult entertainment industry, playing a role in the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Both men were game changers and their brands, even to this day are reflective of their audacity.
My question to you reading this blog, does your company represent who you are? As the CEO or founder, the company's brand starts with you. Apple isn't Apple without Steve Jobs. Know who you are, know what you do and what you won’t do. Build upon that brand and remember authenticity matters.