In thinking about Chick-fil-a over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself thinking about what the company stands for and why those people who are regular Chick-fil-a consumers are so loyal to what is seemingly just another fast food restaurant. A couple of things come to mind:
1. Chick-fil-a goes out of their way to provide quality food and great customer service. (“My pleasure,” the drive-through attendee always says.)
2. Chick-fil-a is open to providing food for both those who want to eat healthy and those who are a little more haphazard in their eating habits.
3. It’s a family environment. Mothers often arrange play dates for their children here and whole families come to enjoy the food and each others company.
4. CFA provides customers with a sense of community. Particularly in small towns, CFA is known for holding community fundraising events to help out local children’s groups, nonprofits groups, etc.
5. CFA is the epitomy of southern culture..so much so that people who now live outside of the south seek out Chick-fil-a as a means to satisfy a small bit of home sickness for the place they once called home.
So, what does this mean for permeable data? Here’s my idea: I’ll call it Chick-fil-a Connect. Say your single friend in Chicago is an avid Chick-fil-a fan. Say she “likes” CFA on Facebook. What if there was an app that could suggest other people who also like CFA? What if those results then also analyzed other interests and suggested people who she knows (or may not know?) who live nearby? It sounds a little like CFA match.com, but that’s not my intention. The intention is to connect people through their love of CFA. Southerners in northern states could connect and meet up for lunch. Moms could set up play dates with other mothers who enjoy spending time at CFA. You could even match people up based on their interests in philanthropy, suggesting that people meet up with others who have supported the same CFA supported causes. One other aspect could connect two long distance friends, giving them an idea of where the closest CFA is between them. Just as the Delta “I miss you project” showed the amount of money it’d cost to see a friend via a plane, CFA could help people spend time with their friends by suggesting how long of a drive it’d take to meet up with your friend at a CFA somewhere between where both people reside.
I’m not sure that I explained this as eloquently as I would have liked, but the basic tenant is to use people’s interest in CFA and other things to connect people face to face. My idea began as I read a friend’s post about how he and his wife make time for each other with CFA data nights. If you helped people develop this habit, not only as merely a romantic date, but as any kind of “date” (friends, business, neighbors, etc.), you run the chance of helping people develop a long-term habit, thereby securing further loyalty to the company. Thoughts anyone?
I can’t be in class on Thursday, as I’ll be in California for a science writing fellowship at a conference. I welcome your ideas, thoughts and feedback via this blog, on my facebook page, via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or even via Twitter (@jluton). I want to hear feedback. And any updates on what was discussed in class on Thursday would be great. Many thanks. -JL