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Case Study – the U.S. Economy from 2009 to Present

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Case Study – The U.S. Economy from 2009 to Present
JWI– 515
Jack Welch Management Institute
At Strayer University JWI– 518 Since it's opening it's first establishment in Denver, Colorado in 1993, Chipotle Mexican Grill now has more than 1200 locations including restaurants in 41 states, Canada, and England. Considering it's success, it is unlikely that Chipotle would have earned a net income $215 million(1) last year without the strategic implementation of social media. Chipotle has employed social media as both a stand-alone means for promotion, as well as a smaller component to much larger campaigns. Among the successful applications are burrito give-aways, event promotion, “foil” art contests, and the most notable and successful “locally grown” campaign – which included a recent spot during the 2012 Grammy Awards. The “locally grown” campaign is indeed Chipotle's most involved social media promotion, including videos, contests, and conversations all surrounding the local farming movement. The campaign's official moniker is “Food with Integrity,” and according to the official website is a “commitment to finding the very best ingredients raised with respect for the animals, the environment and the farmers.”(2) “I think it's really important that people know where their food comes from” says Steve Ells, Founder and Chairman of Chipotle. The campaign's first successful venture was the “Boorito” event, where they encouraged customers to dress up as family farm-inspired costumes in exchange for a $2 meal. The estimated $1 million in proceeds benefited the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation and Farm Aid non-profit organizations. As the winners were posted on Chipotle's social media accounts – most notably Facebook and Twitter, more and more people were talking about the “Food without Integrity” campaign, which has largely been in the background since it's inception. Following the sharing of many responsible farming-related links, Chipotle then launched an animated video titled “Back to the Start” via Facebook and Twitter, featuring a dejected farmer thinking of the future of his business; that being, enclosed pens, machine-produced pork, and mass transit. The farmer then has an epiphany, re-opens his local farm and loads his product onto a Chipotle truck. The video is set to the Willie Nelson cover of a Coldpay song “The Scientist.” The video was launched onto social media platforms in August 2011 and soon became viral, with more than 5.8 million views to date. The video was the eighth most shared on YouTube in September shortly after its release, and was named by AdWeek as one of the 10 Best Commercials of 2011. “Back to the Start” was also named by Zeta Interactive as one of the Top 10 to generate online buzz in 2011, one of only two ads to make that list without debuting during the Super Bowl, and all before even airing on television.(4) When the video finally aired in a 2-minute spot during the Grammys, it was said to have beat a tweets-per-second record.(3) Impressive, considering it was Chipotle's first nationally-run ad in it's 18-year history. According to the Dragonfly Effect Model, the campaign is wildly successful at achieving customer loyalty and social good. According to the first wing, Chipotle has identified a single, concrete measurable goal: to change the fast food industry to accommodate locally grown and ethically produced food. The campaign has certainly grabbed attention, as the second wing calls for, according to the 5.8 viewers of the “Back to the Start” YouTube upload. As for fostering a personal connection, people can easily connect. This is best said by Founder Steve Ellis: “People understand that as a country, we are not as healthy as we should be, that a lot of our health issues are probably related to diet, and that we could be a lot healthier and happier if we just ate the right foods. Whenever I go into a Whole Foods anywhere in the country, the parking lots are packed, the checkouts are packed. People all over are loving what I would say is this reinvention of the grocery store. What a great atmosphere it is inside, first of all. And you're bombarded with great quality food: sustainably grown produce, humanely raised meats.”(4) Sustainable food is not a new movement at all, and is definitely an identifiable one, especially after the recently popular Food, Inc. Documentary. The final wing, enabling and empowering others, is achieved through their many social media promotions. These include the Boorito fundraiser, sharing sustainable food documentaries, the Cultivate Festival (hosted by Chipotle to celebrate food and farmers with integrity) and countless others. These events and promotions allows people to become involved in the campaign and feel as though they are contributing to social good by eating at Chipotle. This campaign could be made better with a clearer “call-to-action” that spurs the customer to become more involved in the choosing of sustainable and ethical farming. It seems as though “Food with Integrity” could just be the company's vague descriptor of their own establishment. And, until the audience investigates further, it is unclear that this is actually an entire campaign dedicated to better quality food. Overall, however, Chipotle has had a very successful run with social media. The company understands how to get people involved by posting their own pictures, coming up with their own slogans, and sharing their own ideas in order to foster an individual connection with both Chipotle and the campaign. The campaign mission is broad enough that it can be executed in many creative and unique ways that could only be applicable to the Chipotle brand. It is related to an issue that is both important and relevant to modern day culture, but can also be a way to bring people in to Chipotle as a promotional tool.
References:

1. United states securities and exchange commission. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1058090/000119312512052969/d280751d10k.htm

2. Adweek. (n.d.). Chipotle - Making of "Cultivate a Better World" | Adweek. Adweek – Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology. Retrieved February 26, 2012, from http://www.adweek.com/video/chipotle-making-cultivate-better-world-134604

3. Fox. (2012, February 13). Chipotle airs new ad, steals Grammys spotlight. Fox News. Retrieved February 26, 2012, from www.foxnews.com/leisure/2012/02/13/chipotle-airs-new-ad-and-steals-grammys-spotlight/

4. Businessweek. (2012, February 16). Chipotle: Fast Food with 'Integrity'. Bloomberg Businessweek . Retrieved February 26, 2012, from http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/feb2007/id20070216_695485.htm

5. Kotler, P., & Keller, K. L, (2009), 5th Ed. A Frame Work For Marketing Management. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River NJ…...

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