Industry News | January 9, 2014 | QSR Exclusive Brief

KFC Wants to Know: #HowDoYouKFC?

KFC is tuning into the needs of its consumers, new and old. The brand’s latest marketing campaign and product launch reflect a fusion of changing industry demands and decades-old tradition.

“#HowDoYouKFC is really a movement,” says Rick Maynard, senior manager of public relations, about the chicken chain’s campaign. “It’s about the brand’s evolution and making it more relevant for consumers today.”

The consumer-centric marketing strategy aims to celebrate the connection loyal fans have to the brand that’s been around for more than 80 years. TV spots feature improv actors as customers and mirror user-generated content as they are filmed on iPhone cameras. KFC also launched a series of short films, such as one featuring X Games gold medalist Bryce Hudson doing a back flip on a motorcycle while eating fried chicken.

“The campaign will inform everything from packaging to our web presence to even the way employees greet customers,” Maynard says.

The launch of the campaign also came in conjunction with KFC’s newest menu item, Extra Crispy Boneless, available as a limited-time offer. Original Recipe Boneless debuted in mid-2013 with a heavy marketing effort some say didn’t pay off all that much.

“There was a lot of demand for our other classic recipe, which is the Extra Crispy recipe we’ve had since the 1970s,” says Zac Cooper, brand manager. “It’s a way to bring our innovative boneless chicken into the same group as our other classic recipe. After talking with a lot of groups over the last nine months or so, we came to that conclusion.”

Extra Crispy Boneless gets its crunch from a proprietary double-breaded recipe KFC has had on its menu for 40 years, and the LTO offers that tradition to fit the needs of a modern consumer. Spanning various dayparts, the item is available in KFC’s new Go Cup, as a two-piece combo, or in a 10-piece Favorites Bucket.

Cooper says the Go Cup is especially ideal for this menu item and is becoming central to the brand’s portfolio. “Americans are snacking more and more today, especially Millennials, and they’re eating more on the go,” he says. “The Go Cup is a way they can do both; they can snack and eat on the go. It’s affordable, too.”

Portability has been key to much of the innovation at KFC, which now boasts a variety of boneless options, including Original Recipe Bites and Extra Crispy Tenders. Cooper says to expect more from the pipeline. “We’re constantly trying to innovate, especially in the boneless category,” he says.

In the meantime, KFC will continue to reach out to consumers on social media and beyond through branded #HowDoYouKFC efforts. “It allows consumers to tell us what it is they love about our brand, whether it’s the discovery of our new LTOs or a rediscovery of an older item like a pot pie that they maybe haven’t had in a while but are now rediscovering,” Maynard says.

By Tamara Omazic