It has been a day since Kentucky Fried Chicken launched its plant based meat version after tying up with Beyond Meat. And the vegans are going crazy about it.
Personally, I think its a great initiative by KFC to make that option available. Meat production causes one of the highest greenhouse emissions and large brands like these are setting the right examples.
Apart from the environmental impact, I think it also provides massive benefits to the brand in terms of positive PR and image to the new generation. Brands need to understand the need to have an image of being responsible and sensitive. Such campaigns and innovations send the right message to the discerning public.
The additions to the portfolio of products also helps KFC cater to a wider target segment due to the inclusion of vegans and vegetarians to their list of consumers. Around 25% of the population of the US between the ages 25-34 years are estimated to be vegetarians (Source: Economist). This is a huge chunk of potential customers for KFC and offering something on their menu for them means a great opportunity for business growth.
So, for those reasons, kudos to the KFC team for having come out with this.
However, looking at it as a brand guy, I couldn’t help but wonder, if I were handling the brand would I change the brand color from red to green. I probably wouldn’t. I would have probably maintained red as the dominant color with a way to weave in green into the design, so that it would be differentiated noticeably.
I am an old fashioned brand guy and I worship brand manuals and guidelines like religious prose. I believe the brand color stands for something and should be maintained. Any digression from the brand color is a dilution of brand equity. So, yeah, that’s a sore point for me and is making me uncomfortable about the execution. If I were in their shoes, I would keep a watchful eye on how the green impacts KFC’s equity.
But then, there is no perfect theory for brand building and many brands manage to survive despite irregular execution. I believe it is mostly about adaptation and evolution. So, overall, this is how we evolve into the future and survive the ravages of time as a brand.
As of now, it looks like it is only a trial for them in Atlanta, Georgia, but they sure have managed to sell it out instantly. It seems to me that they should be able to roll it out in other places too if the taste feedback is satisfactory. The first quick glance at the comments does seem to have majority positive reviews.
Lets hope more such initiatives from major brands keep rolling in.