Burger King creating conversation

Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

I’m at Corante’s Marketing Innovation Conference here in New York.

There was a short and interesting opening keynote from Russ Klein of Burger King. Now BK is not a brand I feel any personal enthusiasm for being more aligned with the Fast Food Nation mindset. But if I set aside my lack of enthusiasm for the end product (and that’s a big set-aside) it struck me that these guys really seem to understand how to do marketing 2.0.

Russ’s talk was about Social Currency, and BK’s strategy has been to create opportunities for conversations among their customers. No these are not conversations about nutrition but around things like the subservient chicken: this appears to be what their core users want to talk about. Here are a few of the sound bites I picked up…

We can’t wage war in the marketplace any more

Cultivating the ‘did you see that’ factor

Branding is not about some fine positioning statement that’s suitable for framing

Get used to being occasionally disappointed… fail fast

This sort of marketing is not an event, it’s a culture

Check your brand’s ego at the door… get past the Madison Avenue speak… don’t wear out your welcome

He showed examples of how BK has been pretty crafty at generating word-of-mouth. For example, when a SpongeBob mascot disappeared from the roof of one of their restaurants, they managed to turn iti into a bid of a media circus. Similar tactics turned their walking “Burger King” king into a talking point on all the late-night talk shows. What especially interested me was that they actually decided to stop feeding that particular frenzy, not wanting to overstay their welcome.

BK also gives a lot of attention to the folks they call their superfans. So they get the whole one percenters idea.

Love ’em or hate them, apparently BK has substantially outmanouevred McDonalds, creating a lot more word-of-mouthwhile spending about a quarter as much on advertising.

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