Chipotle takes thought-provoking to the next level with personalized branded content


As many marketers have pointed out, content marketing is nothing new. Brands have been doing this since they gained access to large-scale printing and affordable distribution methods. Remember food labels with recipes printed on the back or furnishing catalogs that contain cleaning and maintenance tips. However, we’ve come a long way from early examples like The Furrow, and companies like Chipotle are innovating to bring great content into the customer experience.

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In an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair, author Jonathan Safran Foer recounts how a boring burrito experience gave way to a new content distribution campaign for the Quick Service Channel. Foer had neglected to bring a book or magazine with him to Chipotle and discovered that he had nothing to watch while eating his meal.

“I really wanted to die of frustration,” he told the source. “I said, ‘I bet a [lot]people go to your restaurants every day, and I bet some of them have very similar experiences, and even though they didn’t have that negative experience, they could have a positive experience if they had access to some kind of interesting text. “

Cultivate Chipotle Thought Campaign

Foer pitched CEO Steve Ells with an idea that could potentially save other customers from a similar predicament, and now the empty space on the paper cups and take-out bags will be used for stories, essays and d other interesting texts. As the Cultivating Thought campaign is launched, clients can benefit from readings from George Saunders, Toni Morrison, Malcolm Gladwell, Sarah Silverman and Foer himself.

Create added value with content marketing

Chipotle Cultivating Thought’s efforts are a prime example of content marketing. Customers get more value from their shopping experiences without the company having to give them anything more. The content posted on paper cups and on-the-go bags could give Chipotle the edge just because customers like to have something to read while they eat, and even more keep coming back if they enjoy the stories.

In an age where around 90% (or more) of businesses report using content marketing, it’s important to remember that not all messages need to be promotional in nature to drive bottom-line results. Marketers need to think about the customers they’ve already acquired and find ways to retain them with the content. Interesting news, helpful tips and insider information can set the brand apart from its competition and give customers a reason to come back again and again.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Writer at Brafton Inc. She studied Creative and Technical Writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and found content marketing the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes short creative fictions, hikes in New England, and enjoys a good book recommendation.

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