What car dealers can learn from Popeyes

Over the last week, we’ve seen hundreds of news stories about Popeye’s new chicken sandwich and its inevitable feud with Chick-fil-A. But there’s an underlying message that advertisers, marketers, and social media strategists need to take away from this poultry punch-up… brand advocates matter! 

When someone purchases something you have for sale they become a customer. When a customer talks about your product and endorses it without any compensation they become an advocate. Take a moment to wade through the comment section of any news article related to the sandwich skirmish and you’ll find advocates on both sides of the fence. 

via Mashed

Turning a customer into an advocate should be part of your sales process. In the automotive industry, dealers and their sales team should be creating such a lasting impression on their customers, so that they tell all of their friends and family to come to your dealership because “they got an amazing deal” or “they were treated better by you than anyone else.” The key is connecting with people. Regarding the chicken challengers, everyone may argue that Popeye’s chicken does indeed taste better, but they constantly bring up the impeccable customer service that Chick-fil-A is known for. So what does this tell us? The product matters but the overall experience of the customer carries even more weight. It’s all about the way exchange is perceived by the customer. A car buyer can walk out of a dealership ten grand negative with 18% APR but still have a great customer service experience and STILL become an advocate. 

From a social media marketing perspective, both restaurants have struck gold. Not only are advocates voicing their support, but they also have people (like me) writing entire articles on which sandwich they feel is better and in turn giving them even more exposure on just about every platform. While these events come in waves and fizzle out quickly, it’s definitely interesting to see how major brands like Popeye’s and Chick-fil-A capitalize on the hype. 

So what’s the main takeaway from all of this? Next time you’re making a sale, sit back and think about those chicken sandwiches and remember that the person you’re selling to will either become an advocate or an adversary. The gobble squabble of 2019 is proof of customer advocacy, you just have to pay attention to the details.