KFC has been ruffling feathers once again. The past week has seen well-publicised logistics problems forcing many branches of the fried chicken chain to shut in the absence of a key ingredient: chicken.
Despite the fundamental nature of the cock-up, KFC has been praised for its management of the situation. Their prompt response on social media and apology in full page print adverts have seen them take responsibility with a transparent and humorous approach.
But what’s the effect on the KFC brand?
YouGov BrandIndex shows the crisis has damaged immediate consumer perceptions of the brand. KFC’s buzz ranking, which measures the positive and negative things said about a brand, has dropped from -0.9 on 19 February to -20.1 on 20 February. While some stores remain closed and the latest news reports of food wastage continue to gain column inches this negative sentiment will likely continue. But KFC has so far managed to avoid any more long-term impacts to the brand, with metrics such as consideration and purchase intent remaining unaffected on BrandIndex.
Compare this to the likes of VW and Ryanair who responded with considerably less transparency or humour in the wake of a brand crisis, and we see that they’re both still working to re-establish their pre-crisis levels of brand consideration (BrandIndex 2015-2018).
The KFC brand personality that has shone through will undoubtedly have played a role in limiting their long term brand damage. And while KFC hasn’t given any indication of the financial damage of the crisis, they should certainly prepare for a potential increase in demand in the wake of the crisis. KFC is now top of mind for consumers, and the scarcity principle means more people than before will be thinking it’s time for a Zinger burger.