“If you can differentiate a dead chicken, you can differentiate anything.” – Frank Perdue
Before Perdue, there was no recognizable “chicken brand”, and no differentiation between chicken sources. If you wanted chicken, you would get whatever your local farmer, butcher or grocery store had available for sale. If the chicken was any good, it was the magic of good old chicken genetics that was responsible for it’s flavor and lean protein.
In a world where all chickens were the same, Perdue changed the conversation by attempting to own ” chicken quality”. Their branding created the “tough about quality” reputation of Frank Perdue, which not only elevated their public perception, but it also de-valued the competition. The competition wasn’t talking about quality….what were they hiding?
Frank Perdue was talking about quality in a tremendous advertising campaign and he became the relentlessly driven Chicken Quality Tough guy. Perdue was all over television, extolling the virtues of his chickens, how they only ate special grains and only drank well water. The US government might allow a lesser quality chicken to be “Grade A” but that wasn’t good enough for Frank Perdue. The tagline? “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken”.
What is differentiation, anyway?
First, what not to do. In today’s marketplace, if we decided to talk about quality we wouldn’t get the same traction as Perdue…it’s a word and a concept that has been watered down and over-used. The grocery store is stuffed with marketing campaigns that are focused on “quality”. Quality is the “table stakes” and gets you in the game, but is not going to get you the win. Perdue recognized that and expanded their marketing to include product innovation…(oven stuffer roaster, pre-cooked meals, a focus on organic and local farming methods) and healthy, all-natural appeal: all vegetarian feed for the chickens.
Changing the Conversation
That last bit is interesting to me…Perdue always fed their chickens an all grain/vegetable (corn, soy + marigold seed) diet. But nobody cared for over 30 years. Now, it’s a selling point. Let’s start with that: