I’m Going to Join Jen Hatmaker In the Basement


I avoid writing about politics and culture wars here, and it’s because, frankly, the arguments from both sides often annoy me. Occasionally, someone who writes far better than I do is able to articulate what I wish I could say, and in regards to the current debacle over Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A, Jen Hatmaker has done that job quite well.

Here’s a clipping…

So a business leader is no longer entitled to an opinion, even one that roughly half of America shares? Is that where we’re at? Now the mayors of Boston and Chicago and San Francisco are suggesting Chick-Fil-A be denied permits in their cities, and just like that, a hot-blooded difference in personal opinion – not lewd remarks, not discriminatory actions, not company policy – has turned into punitive legislation…

But as Jen writes further, she articulates an argument in the other direction equally well…

Christians, do you really think posting pithy statements on Facebook about “standing firm in our values” and “resisting the liberal media” is helping? The lines we draw in the sand do absolutely nothing except assure everyone else: YOU’RE OUT. When we turn to politics and power to legislate our brand of morality, we take the opposite approach of Jesus whose power was activated in the margins with the outcasts…humbly…peripherally.

And one more byte…

Sure, the storm will rage on up there. But you can find refuge just down the stairs. We have a whole thing going on underground. Gay friends and family, you are welcome down here. Marginalized women, come on down. Isolated and confused by organized religion, afraid your questions aren’t welcomed? Join us. Activists and bleeding hearts, you are our heartbeat. Plain, old, ordinary sinners saved by grace, you belong here. Misfits, ragamuffins, and rebels, bring the party. Reformed legalists, you are my people. Pastors contending for God’s glory and people, help lead us. Dissenters, dreamers, visionaries, we need you.

You need to read all of Jen Hatmaker’s post,  In the Basement. And hopefully you’ll want to run to the basement as well.

Seriously, go read it.

Photo by Gerard McGovern.

Learning from the Launch of Chick-fil-A's Spicy Chicken Sandwich

Chick-fil-A Spicy ChickenWhen I see a Holstein cow (the black and white kind), I think of chicken! That’s because of the ingenious branding and marketing efforts of Chick-fil-A. They’ve created a truly remarkable product, but the product is only the beginning of the story. Chick-fil-A has created a remarkable experience!

With the recent launch of their newest product, the spicy chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A rolled out the red carpet for their loyal fans and followers. They don’t just sell chicken sandwiches to customers, they serve them “with pleasure” to what is rapidly becoming a brand-based family.

I sampled the spicy chicken sandwich way back in February. They were selling them in southern California as a test market and I was there for a conference. Upon returning to northwest Arkansas, I asked our local franchise operator about it and he bubbled with excitement as he touted the coming debut of the new menu item. It’s truly delicious, but it was Chick-fil-A’s efforts that caught my attention.

First, the Mass Marketing

Again… cows, selling chicken. It works.

The Relationship Marketing

Instead of calling this a “social media campaign” (because you will generally think in terms of tools like Twitter and Facebook), I’d term it a relationship campaign. Chick-fil-A was able to spread buzz about the upcoming product launch with some creative methods. Dan Cathy, CEO, wrote about it on his blog…

We actually invited people to our restaurants.

We helped them make reservations for their free Spicy Chicken Sandwich. We gave them white glove service in a completely unexpected way. We reminded them that whether we’re rolling out new recipes or opening new stores, the lifeblood of Chick-fil-A are the fans. And the fans deserve special treatment.

Reservations took more work than coupons. They cost more time and were more complicated than doing a mass marketing coupon campaign. But for us, the chance to have friends over for a celebration, the opportunity to have people feel waited on and important, was simply too important to pass up.

source: DanCathy.com

So from that short blip, notice the huge lessons in relationship marketing…

  1. First, make a great product. (Otherwise, don’t bother.)
  2. Get your people excited about it.
  3. Work hard to get attention – your product is worth it, right?
  4. Treat “customers” like family. Reward fans.
  5. Serve. Meet needs. Don’t just hope for sales.

Chick-fil-A seems to nail every kind of media and every kind of marketing right on target every time. And it makes sense – they nailed the chicken sandwich pretty well!

Don’t Just Market for Attention – Call for Devotion

This morning, I met a friend at our local Chick-fil-A and had the privilege of meeting the owner, Mark Hufford. We talked briefly about the company and its brand story as well as its leader, Dan Cathy. I then sent this tweet…

Being treated like royalty with @JoshuaRamsey at Bentonville @chickfila, store # 2234. Thanks @dancathy!!

For me, and for plenty of others, Chick-fil-A has my devotion. I’m a loyal supporter, and it’s more than liking a particular restaurant’s burger – I like the company, its message, and its people.

Continue reading Don’t Just Market for Attention – Call for Devotion

Takeaways from Radicalis Day #4

So why the delay between my Day 3 post and this one? Well, I had to leave Radicalis early on Friday to catch a flight. I found out in Orange County that my connecting flight in Atlanta had already been cancelled (becuase of the forecast of snow). No biggie – my wife booked me a room in Atlanta. The next day? Mayhem. My second flight out was cancelled and my third flight out I missed because I was standing in line for seven hours to get a boarding pass.

Did I complain? Nope. And I’m not complaining now. I got to know a few cool folks standing around me. I had time to think about the six hours when Jesus hung on the cross (which makes standing in an airport cake) and the fact that I really deserve hell anyway which also makes standing in line a pleasure. (When I shared this latter lesson with a lady behind me, she looked at me like I was totally nuts.) So finally, some takeaways…

Continue reading Takeaways from Radicalis Day #4

I’m In Love with Chick-fil-A

First, the entertaining video, then my thoughts…

I consider myself a self-appointed Chick-fil-A brand evangelist, and there are several things I think other businesses, and even churches, can learn from what I’ve observed. Here are some reasons why I love Chick-fil-A for more than just their awesome chicken sandwiches…

Continue reading I’m In Love with Chick-fil-A