009: When Your Launch Doesn’t Go as Planned: The Story of Chick-fil-A BBQ Sauce



This week, Jeff is talking with David Farmer and Shane Benson of the Executive Minds team about a hard-hitting topic: Chick-fil-A BBQ Sauce.

At Chick-fil-A, David is responsible for Menu Strategy and Shane is over Customer Experience. In July of 2016, David and his team were developing ways to freshen up their BBQ Sauce by launching a new recipe. They followed the steps of The Launch Loop and successfully validated the new product in test locations. Everything pointed to a successful launch. But what happens when your launch doesn’t go the way it’s supposed to?

Welcome to episode 9 of the Executive Minds Podcast.

Links + Resources:

Three Takeaways:

1.  Launching is just the beginning. This is why The Pathways to Launch Sequence is cyclical, not linear. Immediately after your launch, it’s time to immediately go back to the Understand step. Talk with your customers, learn how they’re using the product, what they like, what they don’t like. Allow the feedback to shape and grow your product.

2. Customer feedback is a gift, don’t shy away from it. Often, our instinct is to either defend the product, or internalize the feedback and take it as a personal failure. Critical feedback isn’t a reflection of you, it’s an opportunity to make your product better. You can’t listen to and engage with your customers enough.

3. People respond to authentic brands. When the new BBQ sauce didn’t launch as planned, Chick-fil-A listened to the customer and began a plan to go back to the original recipe. They told their customers about their plan through funny but heartfelt videos. These videos allowed customers to put faces behind the Chick-fil-A name, and these videos now have over 3 million views.