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By Parris Johnson on March 04, 2019

How Chipotle Influenced Their Brand Reputation And Impacted Revenue In 3 Months

How Chipotle turned around a brand reputation that was negatively impacted by food poisoning outbreaks through consistent marketing campaigns focused on healthy food.

 Recently, I ran to grab lunch with a couple of colleagues and while passing the local Chipotle with a sizeable crowd, one of my colleagues noted his surprise. He commented that following the recent outbreaks in E.Coli and Salmonella across Chipotle, he was really surprised that people were still lining up for food. From his perspective, the Chipotle brand reputation took a major hit and unless he wanted to get sick, he wasn’t planning on eating there again.

Once I returned to the office, I looked it up and found that after multiple E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks across the Chipotle chain from September 2015 through July of 2017, and a major hit to the brand, Chipotle shares are up ten percent, and perception of the brand has quickly turned from ‘illness inducing’ to ‘healthy eating.’

Successfully Turning Around A Brand’s Reputation

In today’s digital driven world, where people are focused on the here and now, we tend to think less about a brand historically, and more about what people are saying about the brand right now. This translates into significant opportunity on the branding side; both opportunity to increase brand image, as well as unfortunately, opportunity to decrease brand image.

A good example, where a brand received a major blow is the United Airlines fiasco, where a passenger was dragged off the plane. Other passengers took videos of the scene, and within minutes it was posted all over social media, negatively impacting United Airlines’ brand reputation. Rather than United focusing on managing the brand to positively influence the brand, United didn’t do much by way of brand management and there have been multiple additional incidents that have continued to harm the brand.

Chipotle: Getting Brand Management Right

Chipotle on the other hand, is a great example of how a brand used consistent brand management across channels to positively impact the brand, following significant negative attention where brand reputation took a hit. Chipotle launched a ‘For Real’ campaign, where they pushed healthy food with fresh ingredients across social campaigns, website, advertising, and restaurants.

Through the ‘For Real’ campaign, Chipotle was able to turn-around their brand image from one where people were concerned about health, to one where people are thinking ‘health-friendly.’ How did they do it? Through consistent brand management; branding, imaging, copy were all consistently focused around healthy food. From social and promotional campaigns (like free guacamole on ‘National Avocado Day’), to changing the menu to include salad bowls.

Managing The Brand Pays Dividends

When managing a brand effectively, companies must provide a consistent customer experience across all channels. Public perception of the brand improves with every customer interaction, and the perception influences the associations that both the market and consumers have with the brand. By remaining consistent in their messaging while executing targeted marketing campaigns, Chipotle was able to shift public opinion after the outbreaks and drastically improve their brand image.

Managing The Brand With Brand Management Software

Brand Management Software can make this job exponentially easier - especially when managing the brand across hundreds or thousands of locations, like Chipotle. Brand Management Software provides a centralized location for managing all brand assets (hint: if you’re using SharePoint, Dropbox, Google Drive, Slack and email to manage brand assets, this is for you!). All content can easily be designed, uploaded, updated and distributed using the platform to ensure every location has the latest and greatest relevant on-brand materials.

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 The CampaignDrive platform is Brand Management software that integrates with brand data sources, harnessing data that is important to the company and the brand, including agent names, titles and locations, menu items, pricing, photography from individual locations, and a host of other important data. By importing all the data into a single platform, it’s available to the designers to utilize in on-brand campaigns including print, digital, social and others. With role-based permissions, marketers can seamlessly update or localize collateral, while franchise owners and others can quickly download the latest on-brand materials and activate them locally.

Learn how the CampaignDrive platform can impact your brand. Request a live demo and we’ll show you around

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Published by Parris Johnson March 4, 2019
Parris Johnson