ChickInsights on Fast Food Fried Chicken Marketing

Pop quiz: what’s your favorite fast food fried chicken sandwich?

An informal poll here in the Marketing office of Resonate hit on a few of the big players: Chick-Fil-A, Popeyes, McDonald’s (and a shoutout to the rogue vote for Bonchon).

Across the country, American chicken connoisseurs are just as split. The fried chicken sandwich wars are on and AdAge recently covered a few of the chicken marketing lessons we can glean from this fried fowl feud, including focusing on quality, knowing your brand voice, and following the trends.

But, there’s one piece that drives all of this: knowing your customer. And that doesn’t just mean knowing the type of bun they prefer or whether you’re marketing to a millennial or Gen X audience. You need to know the values that will resonate with your target consumer, what drives them to purchase, and where to engage with them. You need to go deep, uncovering a granular, holistic understanding of a customer.

So, let’s get into some chickInsights on fried chicken sandwiches and chicken marketing.


What do fried chicken sandwich fans value?

When you tap into the values of your customers, you can tailor marketing that goes beyond flat demographics. You appeal to their core drivers and the emotions that inform their everyday actions. This is marketing that builds brand loyalty. You’re not just selling a chicken sandwich — you’re building a connection.

Here’s what we saw in the Resonate Ignite Platform™, which reveals the top personal values for a consumer segment based on the theory of basic individual values developed by Dr. Shalom Schwartz.

  • Chick-Fil-A: influence, stimulation, duty
  • Popeyes: creativity, humility, achievement
  • Wendy’s: conformity, stimulation, humility
  • KFC: humility, authority, nature
  • McDonald’s: stimulation, influence, authority

These values can inform the tone you take in your chicken marketing, your messaging, and your creative. If you’re speaking to a Popeyes audience who values creativity, how can you pull that through into your ad? If you’re targeting a nature-loving KFC customer, how do you tie together fast food chicken with the environment — is it time to develop the KFC camping picnic pack?

fried chicken sandwich marketing - chick fil a customer values

Source: Resonate Ignite Platform™, April 2021

What drives these fried chicken fans to purchase?

Not all fast food fanatics buy their chicken sandwiches for the same reason and you need to know where your customers fall. Are they coming to you because it’s a reliable product? Because it’s the cheapest? Because your advertising is family-oriented?

Across the board, these customers are looking for trustworthy products, with 45% of Popeyes customers indicating that’s a primary purchase driver. 17% of both McDonald’s and Chick-Fil-A customers want a product that’s family-friendly, and 17% of KFC customers prefer products that are fun and exciting. These drivers give you an idea of the types of messaging that will strike a chord with your particular customer base.

And, if you’re focusing on sustainability, that’s not a primary purchase driver for most of these consumers currently. However, despite the low composition percentage, Popeyes, Wendy’s, and KFC customers are more likely than the average consumer to focus on products produce sustainably. 

fried chicken marketing

Source: Resonate Ignite Platform™, April 2021

But, where do you get in front of these customers?

You’ve likely seen the snarky, creative social posts from a few of these fried chicken foes (hey, remember the KFC spice discovery?) — but are they targeting their customers on the right platform? Wendy’s social presence on Twitter is legendary and it’s paying off. Wendy’s audience is 31% more likely than the average American to be on Twitter. Meanwhile, their customers may not be gathering on TikTok in large numbers, but Popeyes and KFC’s customers are ~200% more likely to be on TikTok than the average American, while Wendy’s audience is a staggering 299% more likely. Start choreographing that chicken dance, guys.

chicken marketing

Source: Resonate Ignite Platform™, April 2021

Craving more chickInsights on fried chicken marketing?

We have 13,000+ attributes on these customers — and over 200 million U.S. consumers. Request a demo today to find out more about the deepest, freshest data in your customers, prospects, and your competitors’ customers.


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