September 29, 2009 4 Comments Under Branding and Image
In 1969, Dan Evins had a brainstorm - to provide a reliable, convenient (as in right off the Interstate highways) place for travelers to buy gas, eat a home-cooked meal, get candy for the kids, and perhaps catch a few minutes of shut-eye. Evins and his contractor partner literally drew their building plans in the dirt on Highway 109 in Lebanon, TN, which eventually became the first Cracker Barrel Old Country Store location.
This year, the company celebrates its 40th anniversary of sticking to its original goal. As I’ve previously opined, the company strongly emphasizes customer service. When combined with reasonably priced comfort food, a fun retail shop and friendly staff, it’s no wonder that Cracker Barrel has survived this recession and others before it. Plus, I believe its longevity is partly attributable to its consistent, authentic and downhome branding – the kind of branding that works in good times and bad, the kind of branding that epitomizes value, and the kind of branding that exhibits a likeable personality.
Geert de Lombaerde of South Comm Communications recently interviewed Cracker Barrel President and CEO Mike Woodhouse about the company’s beginnings and growth. A few highlights:
* Cutting corners on the quality and quantity of food isn’t an option. After 40 years of building a loyal following and gaining customer trust, the company says that cutting corners on the product or reducing its investment in customer service training are non-negotiable.
* Under Woodhouse’s leadership, shares of Cracker Barrel have risen 130 percent – more than 150 percentage points more than the S&P 500 over that time.
* Cracker Barrel’s main key to success? Staying true to its brand.
To read the entire interview and learn more about Cracker Barrel’s branding, zigging and zagging, advertising, exclusive marketing partnerships and relentless repetition, read the complete story here.