Insights / branding

Telling a story beyond the product

Sometimes it’s just a company’s inherent brand philosophy that leads to telling great stories and connecting people with the brand. The fact is brands struggle to find their niche, their voice and more importantly, a way to be relevant and truly connect with people that goes beyond the product or service they offer. That connection can, and does happen, in lots of different ways, ranging from corporate philanthropy to social responsibility.

One brand that’s a good example of this is Chipotle. Yep, you read it right- Chipotle, the fast-casual Mexican restaurant chain. I’ve always been a fan of theirs and whenever I find myself in one I can’t resist a delicious taco filled with that spicy, hot barbacoa. Yum! Back to the point. Chipotle is a great example of a brand that’s built on more than just great food. They’ve built their business around the philosophy of “Food Integrity“, which basically centers around the idea that they only use organic, natural, fresh ingredients. They use unprocessed, seasonal, family-farmed vegetables as well as natural, farm-raised, hormone-free meats. You get the idea. They’ve built their brand on a philosophy of social responsibly that doesn’t offer their guests processed, chemically-ridden garbage food.

However, as we go beyond the menu, Chipotle is connecting with people in a whole new way and is reaching out to those who are environmentally conscious and, at the same time, is reminding those of us who aren’t that we should be. Case and point- the chain is installing solar panels on 75 of its store locations. How cool is that? Talk about leading by example. According to the Denver Business Journal article, Chipotle is seeking to reduce its energy consumption during peak hours, which is generally from 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Not only will this be good for Chipotle’s energy bills and their bottom line, but it also is a great example of a brand that’s doing good for their community and the environment as a whole.

As a PR professional, I love brand like this. They have a great story to tell and the marketing, branding, public relations, social media, you-name-it possibilities are endless. But more importantly, as a person, I’ll keep them on my list of places I like to eat, not only because the food is good, but because they’ve got their act together. Now I only wish they had one closer to the Hartford / New Haven area…