Covert Cows & Chick-Fil-A

This article first appeared on FutureFemaleLeader.com

We all love Chick-Fil-A, and it feels like the brand is a phenomenon now that we can’t ignore. But that wasn’t always the case. Before it was a brand, it was a boneless piece of chicken on a buttered bun, now look how far they’ve come. Covert Cows & Chick-Fil-A: How Faith, Cows, and Chicken Built an Iconic Brand by Steve Robinson is the perfect read for long-time Chick-Fil-A fans and people interested in marketing and business. Plus, you can read it while you wait in line for your morning chicken minis. 

So, for a little background, Robinson retired as Chick-Fil-A’s marketing director a few years back, but he was with the company for a long time and there for a lot of the big decisions–including the cows, the chicken minis, the milkshakes, etc. I personally didn’t “discover” Chick-Fil-A until high school, less than a decade ago, so I enjoyed going on this journey, learning not only about the history of Truett, the founder, and his vision ,but also the evolution of the brand and how it went from just a sandwich to an actual brand. Though I don’t usually read ‘business books’ I found that this one had a lot of heart. Yes, they talk about the importance of faith in the business, but also about the heart and the people and the big decisions that had to be made. 

I personally loved reading about the marketing strategy behind the cows as the mascots and some of the backlash they got! Apparently, teachers wrote in complaining because the cows were spelling poorly. The company told them that cows are notoriously horrible spellers, and they should use those billboards as an example to teach their classes how to spell properly. I also loved hearing about the care taken with implementing new things–like the waffle fries–it really showed me how much thought has gone into what we consider “fast” food. 

If you’re marketing minded or interested in success stories, this is definitely a book you want to check out. Sure, it’s a bit heavy-handed at times, but can you blame him? Future business owners and entrepreneurs could learn a lot from the book’s focus on marketing, customer service, and teamwork–I know I did, and I don’t see opening a store in my future. There’s also some great football talk in there for those of you interested in that–Chick-Fil-A and college football have a strong partnership now. 

At the end of the day, we all recognize that Chick-Fil-A is more than sandwiches and fries. They’re opening on Sundays to serve people for free as they wait in line to give blood after a tragic shooting. They’re tithing their companies profits. They’re closing on Sundays to rest and reset and go to church, if that’s your thing. But it’s also a brand that has put a lot of thought into how they want to be remembered–and it’s kind of cool to see how well it has worked for them. So, next time you’re craving chicken minis but it’s Sunday, pick up this book instead. It’s not edible, but it’s got the same spirit woven through it.

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