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Chick-Fil-A is one brand that seems to have realized the power of their Zealots.

The restaurant-chain has established the Chick-Fil-A Insiders program – a program aimed at creating a community of people who love their brand. There are several key Zealotry Marketing actions they have established that make this program a good one.

  • Registration – Sign up is online & it’s easy, and they ask your birth date, so we’ll assume they do something to recognize your birthday.
  • “The First 100” –  A promotion disclosed only in this section on their website, where loving brand fans can come & camp out at each Grand Opening for the chance to be one of the the “First 100” in line – receiving one free meal each day for a year!
  • Future Restaurant Openings – This section lists new stores and their anticipated opening date. These stores are not listed or noted as “Coming Soon” on the store locator tool on the main website, making this VIP information that only Insiders would know.
  • Stories – The site also includes a special section where Zealots can share photographs & stories of their love for Chick-Fil-A .

Overall, the program is a great concept.  It is a way for Zealots to become engaged with the brand, to feel like an insider and to keep spreading the word & creating some buzz among their peers.

Having signed up as an Insider many months ago and without truly knowing what Chick-Fil-A does to nurture these Insider relationships “behind-the-scenes” – one thing they could potentially do to enhance the impact of the program from a Zealotry standpoint would be to make their e-communications more personalized and more frequent.  These Insiders are all people who want to be involved with the brand and who have requested this information.

What other things could they do to boost the effectiveness of this program?

A recent survey from Cool News indicates Starbucks is slipping in its zealotry appeal.

“The encouraging news for Starbucks was that roughly the same percentage of respondents said that they “liked” Starbucks about as much as they did five years ago. However, the percentage saying they “loved” Starbucks dropped precipitously, from 33 percent who said they loved it five years ago to just 10 percent now.”
Interestingly, recent marketing efforts at adding food product, loyalty programs and other conventional marketing seems to have mis-fired, at least among zealots.  Cool News’ respondents indicated a drop in sense of “community” as a primary reason for the drop in appeal.  Starbucks acknowledges it is about experience, not product.   But, has the drive for short-term revenue gains started to impact the long-term potential?

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