Chick-Fil-A’s Corporate Image

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

The Thank God For Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day was “record-setting.” Pastor Rick Warren tweeted that Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A, called him with the good news. The Culture Warriors are positively giddy. But, is this level of sales sustainable?

According to YouGov’s BrandIndex’s Index score, Chick-fil-A’s perception among consumers dropped nearly 26 points since Cathy made his anti-LGBT remarks. In the South the Index score plummeted from 80 to 44. The biggest drop occurred in the Northeast where the score went from 76 to 35, a drop of 44 points.

The YouGov BrandIndex is a measure of brand perception created from thousands of daily consumer interviews. Brand perception is based on quality, satisfaction, reputation, value, general impression, and willingness to recommend.

A proper sampling would include all ages, genders, and ethic groups, but would focus on 18-34 year olds. The later demographic is important for growth of new customers. The older, white Christian conservative demographic, who has rallied in support of Cathy’s remarks, is declining.

The 18-29 year old demographic favors gay marriage by a whopping 63%. If Chick-fil-A wants to alienate this demographic, it would be like committing corporate suicide. Since Chick-fil-A is a private company, its sales figures can be kept secret. It is likely that Chick-fil-A’s plummeting brand perception will be reflected in sales.

While Cathy is free to offer monetary support the Family Research Council, designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, people are also free to withhold support form Cathy by not patronizing Chick-fil-A.

H/T: Blue Texan, Human Rights Campaign, The Pew Forum.

93 thoughts on “Chick-Fil-A’s Corporate Image”

  1. They wanted a war… they have one on their hands. I have only recently begun boycotting products from right wing companies. It’s all boiling down to a war over race and culture now, that’s what this election is all about. As the white majority becomes the white majority-minority, I expect WASPs to not only continue to lose their minds, but I expect we’ll see more and more violent actions like Wisconsin as it becomes evident to these people that they cannot roll back the tide at the ballot box.

  2. Elaine M.,

    Right you are…… Self induced trouble to make it look bad…. The P. O. Is so overfunded that if no new money is put in it, they could exist for 20 or 25 years…. In the retirement benefits…… It’s the only government agency that pays for itself… Ahead of time…..

  3. Patric,

    “I’d rather they invested their energy saving our post offices.”

    I’m with you! Our government caused the post office problem–it’s now time for it to find a solution to the problem.

  4. @sjcguy: Any CEO also has a fiduciary and moral responsibility to his shareholders and licensees. In this case CFA is privately owned, but they do sell franchises, and if the fallout of Cathy’s remarks damage business for the franchise holders then he is morally responsible for costing them sales and reducing their income, and might be legally liable as well.

    Being CEO is a job, by selling franchises to people Cathy took on the corporate responsibility of protecting the value of the Chick-Fil-A brand, which he has now damaged by alienating customers. Since more than half of adult Americans believe gay marriage should be legal, a franchisee could argue that the CEO of Chick-Fil-A has willfully and unnecessarily alienated more than half of his market.

  5. The CEO of any business has First Amendment rights to express his/her opinion on any topic whatsoever. However, he/she must also take full responsibility for the consequences of that opinion, whether positive or negative. An intelligent CEO would steer clear of expressing opinions on divisive issues that might negatively impact his/her business. As they say, “pick your poison” — in this case, whether to exercise First Amendment rights for the principle of the matter (which would be playing Russian Roulette with the business), or discreetly withhold one’s opinion and offend fewer people (which would likely have less potential impact on the business).

  6. True dat, Tony. What we consider repulsive or loathsome, just like good and evil, are defined by social context and are not inherent physical properties. Andrew Zimmern’s show “Bizarre Foods” is based on this notion.

  7. @mahtso: . If someone is genetically predisposed to find any given behavior abhorrent (i.e., they were born that way), to me, chastising them for that would have to be wrong.

    This is a false statement. I believe there is a consensus in the mental health arena that murderous psychopaths can be “born that way,” do you believe it is wrong to chastise murdering psychopaths for murdering people? Shouldn’t we, as a society, frown on such behavior, even if they are genetically predisposed to it?

    You are using “being born that way” as an excuse for a behavior, essentially you are engaging in the oft-used fallacy that if something is “natural” it is inherently “good.” That isn’t true in the health food industry (some natural plants are lethally dangerous) and it isn’t true in the criminal psychology department.

    Behavior can be right or wrong independent of whether it is natural or not. For example, we consider men heroes that train themselves to run into burning buildings and lethal danger in order to save complete strangers that will not pay them a dime, because we believe that saving lives is an inherently good thing. What they are doing is not following any “natural” instinct, most men would not risk their lives running into a burning building unless somebody they loved were inside.

    Just because somebody is “born that way” is not an excuse for their behavior. If they cannot help their feelings, they can use their brains, that is one function of the frontal cortex: To let us override our emotions and do the rational thing.

    Of course, I should not be indulging this line of argumentation at all; humans are not wired to find behaviors repellent. All behavioral recognition is learned, and especially when it comes to something as complex as imagining homosexuality, nothing about that can be genetically pre-determined as “repellent” or “disgusting.”

    The entire premise is wrong. But I write to point out for you the “natural” fallacy; the same thing applies to the argument about homosexuality. It makes no difference whether it is “natural” or “chosen,” what makes a difference is whether it does harm to others or denies somebody else freedom.

    Haters that work to influence politicians to deny homosexuals marriage are doing harm to homosexuals by denying their relationships legal recognition and benefits that are actually worth something. But homosexuals that work to influence politicians to allow gay marriage are not doing any harm to heterosexuals or the haters, they are only trying to secure for themselves the benefits that heterosexuals already have.

    So you are wrong, I do not care what the source of the homo-hatred may be, or what the source of their disgust may be, when they speak out they are doing harm to others, and they SHOULD be chastised, and to the extent we can do so legally, punished financially for their hateful acts.

  8. Tony C said:

    “To me, the question returns to the power of government, and I do not think we should let the government engage in moralizations. I believe in the separation of church and state, and I think this kind of moralization is too close to faith to permit the government’s involvement.”

    Which accurately crystallizes exactly how I feel. Let’s all yell from the belfry for the Fed to get the heck out of the marriage biz.

    I’d rather they invested their energy saving our post offices.

    Thank you, Tony.

  9. mahtso,

    The intolerance of intolerance in the pursuit of justice (which by definition is the pursuit of equity) is no vice. No one is saying they cannot feel disgusted, but actions and thought are not equivalent. If they personally don’t approve of the behavior for whatever reason, they are free not to participate in it – just like an abortion. You don’t have to approve, but your disapproval does not give you the right to oppress the rights of others. If you don’t respect their rights? Why should anyone respect yours? It’s that old Golden Rule again. Reciprocity is a part of equity and equity is a part of justice.

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