Industry News | March 10, 2016 | QSR Exclusive Brief

Chick-fil-A's Instagram Thinks 'Outside the Square'

When it comes to brand transparency, a picture can be worth a thousand words.

At least, that is part of the thinking behind Chick-fil-A’s new Instagram campaign. The brand created a new account, Chick-fil-A Behind the Menu (@cfa_behindthemenu) with pictures of various menu items. Within those images are hidden tags leading to everything from the tried-and-true chicken sandwich to newer menu items like the Superfood Side and the Frosted Lemonade. Once followers click those tags, they’re taken to a unique account for that specific dish.

“It definitely uses Instagram in a pretty unique way,” says Chick-fil-A social media and digital marketing associate Emily Randall, who spearheaded the project. “Even outside of our category, I don’t know that we had really seen anything quite like this.”

Each menu item’s profile page consists of 12 tiles laid out in a three-by-four grid, all of them together forming a high-resolution mosaic of the food.

Because “healthy” and “balance” can mean different things to different customers, Randall says, this format allows followers to explore the menu at their leisure and discover the choices that appeal most to them.

“We have such a desire to be able to be more transparent around our menu items,” Randall says. “This conversation is already happening on social, so we hear loud and clear from our fans that this transparency is extremely important to them.”

Compared with Chick-fil-A’s other platforms, Instagram tends to skew younger, but it is growing very quickly. So far the feedback has been very positive. Randall reports that some fans have left comments about happily getting lost in the experience for half an hour.

Putting together such an elaborate user experience with so many different accounts and picture mosaics did have its logistical challenges, Randall says. It was almost like creating a website; the team had to determine which products to highlight and what information would be included in each. Chick-fil-A kept the accounts private as they built and tested them before unveiling the final experience.

“As far as social media goes, [we’re] always looking for new ways to push forward and connect with our guest. This is an exciting addition to our existing social media strategy,” Randall says. “It was something different that we wanted to try.”

Depending on how the Instagram campaign goes, Randall says, the brand may add more menu items to Chick-fil-A Behind the Menu in the spring.

By Nicole Duncan

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