Church’s Chicken, preparing to launch its first global brand positioning in company history, tapped a new marketing chief, the company announced Tuesday.
Brian Gies is taking the reins as executive vice president and global chief marketing officer. He’s no stranger to the industry. Gies spent three years as CMO with casual-dining leader TGI Fridays from 2013–2016. Among his marketing initiatives were the popular “endless appetizers” promotion and the launch of an ecommerce platform that helped fuel off-premises growth. He directed TGI Fridays’ massive menu overhaul as well as the optimization of one of the largest loyalty programs in the category. But Gies might best be known for the nearly two decades he spent at Burger King, most recently as VP of U.S. marketing.
There, Gies led the U.S. marketing activation team that reinvigorated Burger King’s brand image. Efforts included surging interest back into the flagship Whopper with campaigns such as the “Whopper Freak-out,” “Whopper Virgins,” and “Whopper Sacrifice.” Burger King was picked as “Marketer of the Decade” by AdWeek during his tenure—a run that included five consecutive years of positive same-store sales.
“Brian is joining the team at a very exciting time. He has proven successful in building winning teams, delivering results and working with franchisees to grow their business,” Joe Christina, chief executive officer for Church’s, said in a statement. “His first-hand knowledge and excellent track record fits right in with the culture we are building and will play an intricate part of achieving our vision to be the global franchisor of choice. The executive team and I are excited and fortunate to welcome Brian to the Church’s Chicken family.”
Gies is charged with implementing Church’s new global positioning and domestic marketing approach, which focuses on “Bringin’ That Down Home Flavor.”
“Joe and the entire Church’s team have made significant progress with the business, setting it up for massive forward potential,” Gies said in a statement. “Church’s core customers are in love with our food … hand-battered chicken cooked in small batches and scratch-made Honey Butter Biscuits. We have a longstanding, tried-and-tested platform that deserves to be elevated and optimized further, with an outcome that broadens our audience so even more chicken lovers can enjoy the Church’s experience. I’m excited to get busy helping to make that happen.”
Church’s, which has more than 1,500 locations in 23 countries and systemwide sales north of $1 billion, was looking for a CMO since the departure of Hector Munoz, who took the same role at El Pollo Loco in November.
Church’s will unveil the new global positioning in the near future. But it promises to touch everything from training and recruitment and service delivery to advertising, uniforms, packaging, and product innovation. Virtually all internal and consumer-facing touch points will be impacted, the company told QSR in January.
Tony Moralejo, executive vice president of international “massive and intensely collaborative effort” that tapped into the insights of franchisees and engaged research, design, and advertising agency minds.