KFC Defeat into Victory
by Jason French

KFC Defeat into Victory

I am not a regular of KFC. Not because their product is bad – I just don’t tend to eat it – or go out of my way to go there.  However, in the past week I have just witnessed an act of marketing genius. The apology that KFC put into newspapers was clever, eye-catching and importantly did not (overtly) try and pass the buck or blame (as justified as that may have been!!)

From another 3-letter organisation, the silence is deafening! I have just been on the company website and you wouldn’t think a single thing had happened.  The damage this (public) inaction will do to them is incalculable!! It is not what they will pay in compensation, that is small fry.  It is the reaction that every potential customer will note.  I cannot envisage a single customer whose business model relies heavily on a near-faultless JIT supply-chain actually taking on DHL – who is clearly competent – but so aloof towards those affected by their mistake.

Just imagine if someone as sharp as the KFC marketing crew had been on hand for DHL?  Perhaps they could have got the full-page apology into the papers first – even using the risqué letter re-arrangement that KFC did.  How about the strapline “We KFC’ed it up!”? How about saying that because of our mistake, one of our dearest and most important customers has suffered – and that we will make it right?  I don’t know how much money DHL will be paying out, but they could have taken a proportion and run a campaign saying “your next chicken burger is on us!” and paid for three million – six million – ten million (whatever) people to go on to their website and redeem a voucher.  At least this would show that they are not perfect but that they care.  It would put their brand on the front page of every newspaper.  Who knows, maybe even snatch victory from the jaws of defeat!

Jason French – Business Doctor for Hereford and Worcestershire


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