Burger King (BK) announced it is adding tacos to its menu. The second largest fast food chain in the world, with a menu that consists primarily of burgers and chicken sandwiches, is going rogue and adding something completely outside of its wheelhouse to its menu.
Things that make you go hmm.
We’re not necessarily surprised by anything BK does. It has a reputation for its sometimes off-color television commercials. BK also tends to chase the latest and greatest temporary fad instead of focusing on the quality and stability of its main menu.
There are pros and cons to this approach, but this is somewhat akin to your financial institution having tellers or financial service representatives start selling mutual funds. It’s a financial product, just like tacos are a food item, but it’s far enough off the beaten path to take attention away from the core offerings which bolster your bottom line.
In other words, just because you can offer something doesn’t mean you should.
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with trying something new. If you always stay the same, you’re not growing. But as we tell clients during their branding workshops, everything you do must align with your brand: the way you design your branches; the cleanliness of your facilities (both inside and out); your signage; the products and services you offer, your marketing, etc. If you always spend time chasing the latest temporary fad, that’s time not spent solidifying your brand.
Here’s another way to think about it. If your marketing and product development efforts chase the latest fad without taking your brand into consideration, what happens to those consumers you attracted with that temporary fad once it goes away? You have to work twice as hard to keep them.
There are three Cs in branding: clarity, consistency and constancy.
Strong brands are clear about who they are and what they are about. They understand their value to consumers, and they convey that message clearly in their marketing. Those three Cs are reflected in everything they do. That is what differentiates them from the competition and enables them to build long-term loyalty among their target consumers.
Fads and gimmicks are effective at getting consumers’ attention, but they are temporary and they don’t always attract your target consumer.
Branding, when executed correctly, focuses on capturing the target consumers and keeping them long term. Capitalizing on an occasional fad is smart business and can make for good marketing. Just don’t let it take attention away from your core business.