• About Tom Dougherty

    Tom Dougherty CEO, Stealing Share

    Tom Dougherty is the President and CEO of Stealing Share, Inc., and has helped national and global brands such as Lexus, IKEA and Tide steal market share over his 25-year career.

    An often-quoted source on business and brands, he has been featured recently by the New York Times and CNN, discussing topics ranging from television to Apple to airlines.

    Tom also regularly speaks at conferences as a keynote and break-out speaker. To find out more on inviting him to your speaking engagement and view a video of him speaking, click here.

    You can also reach him via email attomd@stealingshare.com.

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Hardees gets it. The rest don’t.

You see, Burger King. Hardees gets its. When it introduces a new menu item, such as the Midnight Moonshine Thickburger, it is at one with its brand of “Eat it like you mean it.”

Last week, I wrote about Burger King introducing the Angriest Burger, even though it has very little relation to BK’s brand. Sure, it’s a hamburger. But that just makes it a new menu item, and therefore soon to be forgotten.

When Hardees has something like the Midnight Moonshine Thickburger, you order it because you eat it like you mean it. You eat the Angriest Burger because…why?

Why Hardees competition fails.

The fast food industry is one of the most competitive among all markets with McDonalds, Wendy’s and Burger King atop the charts. But the number of competitors has risen in recent years, with the introduction of so-called fast casual restaurants such as Panera Bread, delis such as Subway and even all the pizza chains.

The choice among consumers has never been greater, which is why the largest chains have been heavily targeting the breakfast segment because that’s the only daypart with room to grow.

But instead of trying to put some brand distance between themselves, the largest chains have been competing on an ever-changing menu and the lowest price on combo meals. It’s the same hamster-in-the-wheel thinking that has seen stagnation in the pizza market.

Few of them ever try to distance themselves with the meaning of their brands. Even McDonalds has lost its way, losing market share as it’s been trying to become relevant again.

Adding menu items and even offering discounts are not bad things in and of themselves. The problem is those become short-term strategies in the absence of those tactics being the fulfillment of a brand promise.

And it’s because of a meaningful brand promise that loyalty can exist. So when BK and others wonder what they need to put on their menus next to keep up, others like Hardees just keep surging along because they have a brand that gives those tactics meaning.

Why would I eat a Midnight Moonshine Thickburger? Because I eat it like I mean it.

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