hardee's unique brand

A Lesson from Hardee’s on Developing a Unique Brand


Kristin Pruis



Often when I meet with a prospective client for the first time and I ask them what makes their business unique, I receive an incredibly underwhelming, “We’re simply the best,” or “Nobody does it like I do.” The problem with these statements is that they are completely generic, say nothing about what you specifically do, and everyone out there is saying the same thing!

In order to distinguish yourself with a unique brand, you have to be saying something nobody else is saying, and delivering it in a way that only your brand could to your audience. If you examine your business and discover that you are just saying what everybody else is, then it’s time to audit your communications and your business.

It’s not enough to just sell a product or a service and hope your customer’s return. You have to create an experience and unique brand for your customer that provokes loyalty. Creating that experience starts with defining what makes your business and your brand special and building a message from there. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What drives your passion for your business? Where did it all start?
  • What do you believe in and what do you value most?
  • What is your focus? What do you do really well? What are your weaknesses?
  • Where do you see your business in 5 years? 10 years? What do you hope to achieve?
  • Who are the key players in your business and what special skills and background do they bring to the table?
  • Who is your audience? What do they value and what are their needs?

Take for example the brand Hardee’s. On the brink of going under, five to ten years ago, the Hardee’s brand was nowhere near unique nor did it have a clear position in the market. After a major communications rebrand in the past few years, realized through a highly visible television and marketing campaign, Hardee’s began sending a clearly unique brand message to the public: Hardee’s serves those who are proud to “eat like like they mean it,” or more specifically, men who “eat like men.”

While I am not advocating the use of barely clothed women or suggestive themes featured in their commercials, Hardee’s has set a great example for establishing a brand that resonates with their customers by clearly communicating who they are. The voice they have developed distinguishes them from comparable restaurants like Burger King and they are no longer just another fast food place that sells burgers. Hardee’s has created a niche following of manly-man customers who boast their deliciously oversized food.

“People want to buy from other people, not businesses, so don’t stifle the human element of your brand.”

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The key takeaway is that if you are going to run a business, be you. Don’t commit to your brand halfway or take a middle of the road stance. Go all out and all in! Don’t apologize for who you are. Use your strengths and unique skill-set to your advantage. People want to buy from other people, not businesses, so don’t stifle the human element of your brand. Don’t be afraid to do something different that no one has done before, because that is your best shot at standing out and staying in the minds of your customers.

Do your brand communications need an audit? Contact K Design Co. to find your unique brand voice.

Photo Credit: Elliot Trinidad via photopin cc

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