Fair or Foul?

The KFC crisis can teach agencies valuable lessons on delivering their promises


KFC has decided to return to its original supplier after the debacle with its new delivery company. You’ll have heard the story of the KFC crisis, branches closing due to lack of chicken deliveries… hungry and irate customers wandering the internet in search of some cold crumbs of comfort… the media in a freezing frenzy of poultry puns.

Some good things have come from the debacle. A great apology from KFC, that graphically rearranged the letters of its name to admit their mistake, got almost as much publicity as the closures of its stores due to the great chicken drought. And my son discovered that the Dallas Fried Chicken in town was equally good, marginally cheaper and its chicken wings ‘slightly spicier’.

So, not all bad then.

But it got me thinking about the perils of taking on new suppliers – because being that new supplier is often the position an agency finds itself in. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and for one agency to win new business it almost inevitably means another one loses it.  And when you win new business, you’ve got to get it right and get it right fast.

Many agencies are finding the traditional agency/client relationship model is changing. Companies want – and need – their agencies to do more with less. Work is often allocated on a project-by-project basis based on perceived ability and cost. That makes it hard for new suppliers – and the more irresponsible of them will overpromise and under deliver – leading to the kind of problems that KFC experienced.

And all the time, other new agencies and the previous incumbent will be circling, calling, emailing and generally making a nuisance of themselves as they look for a chance to get a piece of the pie.

But here at Lean we’re offering something a little different. Our pared down, virtual agency model has been set up to be flexible, reliable, agile, scaleable and efficient. When we say we’ll deliver, we really will.  Whatever the job, we have the freedom to choose from a tried-and-tested team of people around the world who can hit the ground running and who will deliver on time and on budget (unlike KFC’s new suppliers who literally couldn’t).

So, as we examine the bones of the KFC disaster we can only say one thing to companies who may be worried about taking on new suppliers. Don’t be a chicken. Because when your new supplier gets it right, you’ll reap the rewards.

#KFC-crisis #new-supplier #creative-agency