Fast Food From Farmers? How far can a brand promise stretch?

best fast food branding

Burger Chain’s Ballsy Brand Proposition
Walking the retail streets of Boston last month I came across this window poster trumpeting the arrival of burger chain ‘b.good‘ to town. I was struck by the proposition; ‘Food from Farmers’ as a pretty ballsy brand promise for a burger chain. In Australia we have Grill’d Burgers who’ve built their brand around a ‘healthy burger’ proposition, which whilst being of questionable virtue has been unquestionably successful for them. So standing in the bright New England sun, taking-in the b.good billboard I got to wondering just how far this type of brand promise could stretch.You see the beauty of this part of the burger market is that the brand proposition is seen by consumers in relative terms. A ‘Healthy Burger’ does not have to necessarily be a healthy meal, just more healthy than competing burgers to live up to its promise and provide relatively guilt free permission to purchase. So to keep their brand promise, b.good only need deliver burgers that are more directly linked to farm produce than those of their competitors. And it appears that is exactly what they do.

best burger chain branding

Brand Proof Points
Every successful brand proposition needs to be supported by authenticity. Authenticity can boil down to a series of ‘Proof Points’ that demonstrate there is more than hot-air to the brand’s promise. The b.good brand demonstrates a sophisticated grasp of proof points, sprinkled liberally throughout the brand experience – it’s enough to warm the heart of any branding agency:
• Hand cut real fries’ that boast none of the perfect consistency of shape and colour of their competitor’s fries.
• Ugly burgers with real looking lettuce, tomato, cheese and burger patties that look like the ones real people make.
• Bowls of salad and vegies that are made up entirely of fresh, identifiable vegetables
• Smoothies of vibrant green and orange with chunks of real ingredient so large it looks like you’d need a vacuum cleaner for lungs to successfully suck it up a straw.
• Video galore of farmers talking about how they raise their beef, grow their potatoes, etc. with love, care and sustainable practices
• Pictures on the walls of the b.good restaurants introducing customers to the farmers who grow their food, talking about what they feed their cattle and produce.
The list goes on and on, I suspect in no small part because part because the founders of b.good genuinely believe in these brand truths.

The b.good founders Anthony and Jon describe the concept as “food that we love like burgers, fries and chicken sandwiches and shakes, but made in a way that you can actually feel good about what you’re putting into your body”.

‘Food made by people not factories’

b.good have a real affinity for capturing the essence of their brand promise with video, photography and language. The informal style of delivery creates a strong brand personality that is all about walking the talk, and spares little time for spit and polish.

Frank’s potatoes are back
Hey Everyone,

Today marks the start of the best time of year to eat our fries. Yes, Frank’s potato harvest is ready and we’re officially hand-cutting spuds from his farm in Hatfield, MA.

And that’s a great thing because when Frank grows our potatoes, our fries are even fresher, taste even better, and we can know the people who grow the real food we serve.
To celebrate the birth of local potatoes, we’re serving up A FREE ORDER OF REAL FRIES to our family anytime this week. Just bring in your Family ID before we close on Sunday.

Anthony & Jon

P.S. Those spuds aren’t the only beautiful things entering our lives. In a couple of weeks, we’ll deliver our 13th baby in Portland. So, if there are kinfolk reading who live in Portland or have friends there, please reply so we can introduce ourselves with free milkshakes from our flame-covered ice cream truck.

Whilst I began with more than a modicum of brand cynicism, the more I scratched the dirt from the surface of the b.good brand the more I liked what I found. b.good is a brand that truly believes in what it does – an attribute shared by many successful entrepreneurial brands. b.good is a brand with soul, with authenticity and with an easy charm in talking about and delivering on its brand promise. I’m convinced all these proof points are critical success factors for the brand given it is operating in a hyper competitive market with little differentiation, and equally given the stretch demanded of their ‘Food From Farmers’ brand promise.

So can a brand sell any far fetched proposition to their market on the simple measure that they only need to be more compelling in delivering that promise than their competitors? It would certainly appear-so in the world of burgers. If the proposition appeals to the market – and lets face it, there are plenty of people keen to believe it burgers can be good for them – and if the brand delivers at some level on a series of proof points to illustrate that proposition, then there can be a hell of alot more stretch room in a brand’s promise than might seem credible.

Dave Ansett
Chief Creator of Brands
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