Crispy, salty, and crunchy in all the right places, fried chicken is one of the great American comfort foods. Unsurprisingly, fast food chains have been springing up for more than 70 years to serve the chicken-loving public. Chick-fil-A, Raising Cane’s, Zaxby’s, Bojangles’ Famous, El Pollo Loco, Buffalo Wild Wings, Wingstop, Boston Market, Popeyes, Church’s Chicken – they all have their own take on serving the bird, but they all have one thing in common.
They all rank higher than Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Kentucky Fried Chicken is, perhaps, the most recognizeable fast food fried chicken brand in the world, thanks to a combination of longevity, brilliant branding, and an unforgettable flavor.
Did you know that in Japan, Christmas is inextricably associated with KFC, thanks to the “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (Kentucky for Christmas!) marketing campaign in 1974? People are still ordering their chicken dinners months in advance to avoid the lines, and the Christmas chicken dinner has expanded to include cake and champagne.
To say KFC is an impressively adaptable brand is an understatement. And now they are in the process of adapting to the modern, millennial, American market.
Market Force studied consumers’ favorite quick-service restaurant ranked by a range of attributes including food quality, healthiness, service, atmosphere, cleanliness and value. On 4/7 of these measures, KFC scored dead last against its competition.
Right now, KFC is looking for a new creative agency to represent them.
So we wondered – who are the Fast Food Chicken Consumers KFC needs to win away from their competition?
Fast Food Chicken Consumers vs. KFC Consumers
Fans of fast fried chicken are split down the middle for their basic demographics. Just over half are married and female, with 42% having children.
They score high on our charts for being “Foodies,” “Fashion Lovers,” “Sports Enthusiasts,” and “Politically Active.” They have an interest in gourmet and specialty foods, but they don’t actually want to cook it themselves. They’ll order in or dine out.
KFC consumers, in comparison, also over-index for the “Food-to-go” trait, but are less health-conscious, ranking high for Snack Foods, especially chips. KFC’s audience is also a little different from the audiences of their competitors in that they’re not fashion-lovers – but they do like athletic apparel.
Both groups are interested in sports, with chicken lovers in general watching volleyball, and KFC fans watching wrestling and soccer.
Chicken lovers are politically active and tend to be religious. KFC fans are also religious, but not at all interested in politics.
How Can KFC Cross the Chicken Divide?
KFC wants a greater share of the chicken-loving public, which means they’re going to have to shift their marketing strategies to appeal to a more quality-conscious demographic. Yes, we think the Colonel should get a little more craft. Upgrade their mac n’ cheese to gourmet food-truck style Mac. Invest in better quality meat. Offer real butter and honey for their biscuits, rather than their butter-goo and honey-cut-with-corn syrup “honey sauce.” No millennial mother wants to serve that to her kids.
A few strategic upgrades would give KFC some real differentiators in a deliciously greasy saturated market.
Just don’t touch that gravy recipe, KFC. That’s perfection.
Find out more
Check out our deep dive into KFC’s current agency review, their most successful tactics, current marketing moves, and, of course, their current and prospective demographics.
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