Thomas Jefferson said “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
Eternal vigilance is also the price of maintaining a strong franchise brand and preserving the integrity of chain’s trademarks.
KFC, a division of fast food franchise giant YUM Brands, demonstrated its vigilance this past week by taking quick action against a California Republican group that used the KFC logo on a racist graphic printed and distributed in its newsletter.
The “Obama Bucks” graphic (pictured above) was distributed by a California Republican group named the Chaffey Community Republican Women Federation. The graphic depicts a phony foodstamp depicting Presidential candidate Barack Obama, a bucket of KFC chicken, a slab of ribs, Kool-Aid, a slice of watermelon and the words “Obama Bucks.”
KFC was on the ball. According to a story in the Black Voice News Online , KFC officials demanded that the group responsible for distributing the racist material immediately cease and desist from further use or distribution of KFC images or trademarks. KFC spokesman Rick Maynard stated that the company has requested a public statement from the group “acknowledging that KFC had no part in the creation or distribution of this material.”
By taking swift action and not looking the other way, KFC turned potential negative publicity into positive PR by refusing to let its trademark used for the purposes of racism and slander. Good franchise companies must not only promote their brand image in positive ways, they must defend them on a daily basis… if not solely for their own best interest, but in the interest of their franchise owners, employees, and, ultimately, their customers.
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Relentless marketer Sean Kelly is a 20 year veteran of the franchise industry, and founder of the award-winning marketing firm IdeaFarm. In 2006, he founded the FranBest franchise network, best franchise opportunities, the top new franchises, franchise marketing, franchise public relations and small business marketing. Contact him at seankelly[at]ideafarm.net.
Graphic source: TerranceDC License: Creative Commons