When his father died forcing his mother to enter the workforce to support the family, a six-year-old boy began caring and cooking for his younger siblings.
As he grew older, the young man held several jobs but never strayed far from the stove. When he was 40, he began serving his home-style cooking to weary travelers who stopped at his service station in Corbin, Kentucky. They marveled at his delicious meals, especially the fried chicken. They asked for his recipe, but he declined. It had taken him years to perfect it, he explained, and he kept the exact blend of seasonings a secret.
It has been seven decades since Col. Harland Sanders first served chicken dinners to his service station patrons. Today, the 14,000 Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises in more than 80 countries and territories serve over a billion chicken dinners annually.
Throughout the years, the image of a smiling, white-haired Col. Sanders, along with the slogan “finger-lickin’ good” and the famous “secret blend of 11 herbs and spices,” have survived the test of time and a changing marketplace. The fact that the spice mix is still a secret was underscored last year when the hand-written recipe was temporarily moved – via locked briefcase inside an armored car – from its vault in Louisville, Kentucky while security was upgraded at the KFC headquarters.
In a fast-food market dominated by red-headed clowns and kings with plastic smiles, all seeming to target only the children in the car, the late Col. Sanders became and remains a human symbol of honesty, integrity and maturity. People trust that the chicken dinner they buy today is made according to his specifications. They believe the company is committed to maintaining the high quality he prescribed.
Image is critical to success in today’s rapidly-changing marketplace. A corporate identity and logo must be more than recognizable. It has to convey honesty, sophistication, attitude, relevance and quality.
And it has to have staying power.
Creating a lasting identity requires skills and experience. It requires knowledge of not only today’s market, but also what worked in the past and what will likely continue to succeed in the future. Beyond traditional advertising and marketing campaigns, it requires Strategic Brand Expression™.
DAAKE developed the concept of Strategic Brand Expression as a way to describe the all-encompassing nature of brand creation – the process of taking an identity from idea to realization. More than conveying to the public what you do, it’s about telling people who you are, what you stand for, what you believe in and hope to accomplish.
A great brand does more than spur new sales. It creates a bond with the public, an understanding, a trust that spans age groups and economic means. It takes on a life of its own, unique and exciting. For consumers, it bridges the gap between what we’d like to have and what we can’t do without.
Just ask anyone who gets a craving for that “secret blend of 11 herbs and spices.”