Introducing A Buzzword: “Evident Consumer Respect” (ECR) and its powerful business effects.

Over the next few days, I am going to “explore” an idea that I’ve been almost-enunciating for years.

Evident Consumer Respect (ECR)

I just made that up. But it’s time to focus on it.

Since I’m “exploring” it, my initial description here is going to be inadequate—but I believe that restaurants (and all companies, really) either succeed, fail, or never-quite-succeed-or-fail-but-instead-putter-along-indefinitely, based on one concept: whether their ideal customer feels their respect.

It might be a product. It might be the communications about that product. It might be how you do business, or how you source your food. It might be the way operations executes at 100% at all times. You could assign scores based on the Evident Consumer Respect, I think.

But, well, I don’t know the scoring system yet, or even if there should be one. I do know brands like Shake Shack and Taco Bell, Chic-fil-A and Chipotle would score high. I don’t know where KFC or McDonald’s would score.

Because, see, you can produce something as brilliant as this trayliner for German KFCs, brought to my attention today, which you can use to hook up to your smartphone and type. Amazing:

What kind of company would provide a technologically advance trayliner that lets you type on your mobile device while you eat? A company that respects you. Right?

That piece shows tremendous respect. I would give it a high ECR rating (like I say, I haven’t worked the rating system out yet). But how long before KFC broadcasts an ad that essentially insults their customers’ intelligence? The ECR rating plummets.

Similarly, I learned of this idea of McDonald’s to do a different commercial every day for a month, starring a sitcom actor. It’s an interesting idea.

But once again, I feel McDonald’s is very focused on their own agenda and not providing much acknowledgement that their absent Millennials (who are currently apparently not loving it) want to engage with a person, not a paid personality. I suspect this ad feels to its intended audience like Mickey D’s is still a big, old-fashioned company with a lot of money to spend on marketing. At that point, the ERC depends entirely on this kid Max’s innate charm. Maybe he’ll pull it off for thirty one days.

Anyway, stay tuned while I work this idea out. I’m open to advice and comment if you have thoughts about it. Evident Consumer Respect. ECR. It’s what makes brands beloved, and successful.