Research Outline

Investment in Branding


To find case studies of companies suffering from failing to invest in their brand and the consequences of this branding failure. To find a case study where a company's success is directly linked to their branding strategy. This information will be used to convince a client to invest in their brand marketing strategies.

Early Findings

Chipotle: Lifestyle Brand

  • In 2015, 55 people were infected in E.Coli outbreaks after eating at Chipotle. Since the E.Coli outbreak, the company has struggled to regain its brand relevance.
  • "To revamp and revitalize what had become a struggling brand, Chipotle relied on a purposefully designed brand experience that resonated with customers, centered around quality food and the amenities of modern technology."
  • The company's new brand strategy aimed to make the brand "more than a burrito and taco joint." In its branding effort, the company defined itself as a lifestyle brand that people will resonate with.
  • The main focus of the new branding strategy was on fresh ingredients, new products, and evoking strong emotional connections with consumers.

Branding Strategy

  • Design a brand feeling: The brand's new focus is "on food with integrity emphasizes the quality of the ingredients that go into each meal, meaning that diners can feel good about their selection for their own personal health." Thus, the company includes "information about how the company optimizes processes to minimize its environmental impact."
  • Consider data recommendations: "Chipotle wants everyone to feel as if it knows its customers, so the brand uses data and artificial intelligence to help cater to diners' tastes and preferences. For example, at approximately 1,800 of the chain's 2,500 stores in the U.S., an AI voice system suggests items customers might want when they order over the phone."
  • Maximize mobile CX: Chipotle's collaborated with Venmo, the peer-to-peer payment app. This step helped the company win over Millennials and Gen Z consumers. "For one week last March, the chain deposited a sum of money between $1 and $500 into the Venmo wallets of 25,000 customers each day, to the delight of surprised recipients. " To more engage the emoji-obsessed demographics, Venmo added a Chipotle pepper icon to their app, making Chipotle the first restaurant with its Venmo emoji. Since these two demographic groups prefer Venmo over other old payment methods and love emojis, the brand was delivering exactly what they wanted and expected.
  • Other steps/changes were the following:
    • Closing of underperforming stores: to increase profitability, Chipotle closed 55-65 underperforming locations.
    • Becoming more digital: the company offered its customers the ability to order online through a smartphone app.
    • Delivery: Chipotle teamed up with Postmates for delivery services.
    • Catering: "the company puts more emphasis on its catering services. "
    • Happy hours: the company offered discounts during off-peak happy hours.
    • New customer rewards: Chipotle planned to release a more engaging rewards system.

Brand Success After the New Branding Strategy

  • The digital AI voice assistant system implemented to suggest items to customers had contributed to an average check increase of 3.5%.
  • "With stock prices at record highs and a forecast predicting the creation of 140 new stores in 2019, the burrito brand's future is looking bright."