Chick-fil-A PR success or disaster?

Would you like a dental plan with your health insurance?

Can I be Chik-fil-A just for a day for the publicity? There is an old adage that even bad PR is good PR. The Chik-Fil-A appreciation day in support of Dan Cathy‘s comments in support of traditional marriage was not only a PR bonanza but an economic boon for the franchises as well. How much would it have cost to purchase all the media publicity they received? How many new customers did they gain from the appreciation and protests?

Always be nice and smiling :)

Marketing experts are continually admonishing business owners not to be controversial in their comments to the media. For every one vocal person that is turned off by your comments, there are sure to be 10 silent observers that will form a negative impression of you or your business. Even people paid to make controversial comments like Rush Limbaugh are not immune from back lash like his comments over Sandra Fluke.

You said what?!

The Susan G.  Foundation for the Cure also had to deal with a public relations disaster after they announced that they were not funding Planned Parenthood over women’s reproductive services. Unfortunately for Komen, their stutter PR step didn’t result in an out poring of support for their position that translated into donations like chicken sandwich sales for Chik-fil-A.

Honesty…a good thing

Actually, I wish more owners and CEO’s would make pronouncements like Dan so we can all see the philosophical underpinnings of their business. Large and small companies make political and nonprofit donations from the revenues generated by the products we purchase to causes or organizations we may oppose. While some companies publicize their contributions in an effort to gain consumer loyalty, many do not.

Where’s the dirt?

Because corporations are people, they are free to donate their money to the charity of their choice. They are under no obligation to announce their donations. Consequently, good government people must dig deep into financial statements and political contribution filings to find out who is donating to what. At least Dan Cathy is upfront and honest about his company’s contributions.

Hey Dan…I dare you.

I tell folks that if they want to know about me, who I am and what I stand for, “Go to my website and read my pages and blog posts.” Just like Dan, I am not hiding anything. I am flattered that Dan Cathy looked to me as a role model for transparency on his company’s positions. In reciprocity, Dan is more than welcome to start either an appreciation day or protest against my positions. If I could generate just a tenth of publicity that Chik-fil-A has received, I could scrap my whole marketing budget and afford to eat at KFC every night for the rest of the year.

  • Bonnie Osborn

    Great piece, Kevin–you are a good writer! Your point is one reason I don’t think fueling the media fire with a second, LGBT-initiated spectacle is the right thing to do–if one’s purpose is to really make a difference within that company. They protest, we respond, they have to respond, the media blows it up all over the airwaves, and people come in droves to eat chicken. How is this helping? There is value in inspiring our youth and raising our own spirits by raising some hell. But is it going to make a difference in how this company does business? I don’t think so. Most likely, it’s simply going to make them more money.

    • Kevin Knauss

      Isn’t it crazy that people won’t go out and vote or donate to charity, but a little PR firestorm gets us off the couch and into a restaurant. Facts, reason and logic will win the war, but there will be many little skirmishes before that day.

      • Bonnie Osborn

        Well, it is exciting for sure! Personally, I’ve been on TV enough times in my life. BTW, you look great in your Chick serving duds–I think you’re a natural! :)

        • Kevin Knauss

          OK, we have one vote for me dressing as a chicken to increase my publicity for my business. Thanks Bonnie!