Make Sure Your “Deliberate Change” Makes Things Better for Your Patrons

In his post “Deliberate Change,” Jim shares a story he read about Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlours — which chronicles its fast rise, powered by a passionate concept, with adoring customers and a lot of unique qualities. But it also catalogs the decisions that led to its serious and terminal decline.

What was the reason for the decline? The program Marriott (who owned the chain at the time) undertook in the ’70s, called “Deliberate Change.” It consisted of changes like: frozen hamburgers replacing fresh hand-pressed burgers and the replacement of the Farrell’s recipe ice creams with standard commercial-grade. Jim wrote:

“The assumption underneath all of this is that customers would not notice a difference between good quality and “standard commercial-grade” quality. … But you are … totally wrong in the bigger picture, because once you signal to everyone involved in the business that all that’s required in your organization is ‘standard commercial-grade’ quality in food, you’re going to get standard commercial-grade quality in EVERYTHING YOUR ORGANIZATION DOES. … Make sure your ‘deliberate change’ makes things better for your customer rather than assuming that they’re suckers.”

According to this Fast Company article, Kentucky Fried Chicken’s chief marketing officer Kevin Hochman has been hard at work to change the image of the company, including reviving an old mascot.

KFCColonelDan Solomon reports: “The decision to bring the Colonel back, according to Hochman, was a decision to tell the KFC story in a way that let people know what the brand really was.

‘Our North Star is the Colonel, and doing things the hard way,’ [Hochman] says. ‘When we’re at our best, the Colonel is at the center of everything. When he passed, we started losing our way a little bit, so the idea is that we’re going back to the Colonel, and to his beliefs about treating guests, and making sure that we offer the highest quality and service in our stores, and what better way to do that than to make the Colonel front and center in all of our efforts? It’s not just in advertising — it embodies everything we do. … It’s so much more than just an advertising thing — it’s something that we think will make us stronger again.'”

What’s your North Star? Tell us on Twitter or Facebook.

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