I recently met someone for breakfast at Hardee’s and while I was at the counter I was looking at their regular menu. They had a big banner touting their new bacon cheddar fries. They serve “Thickburgers” and 2/3# patties. The menu lists curly fries and onion rings. I thought to myself that I had never realized it, but Hardee’s had staked their niche on the non-healthy segment: they were going for the market that was not calorie-conscious. It seemed to be a clear brand choice and I was inwardly applauding them for going this route with gusto.

So imagine my surprise when I looked at my tray liner and it had a dietCoke pictured and a bun-less burger, made large by a pile of condiments. It said: “Explore the other side of Hardee’s — seedraH.com.” Turns out that seedraH is Hardee’s spelled backwards, and it welcomed me to “the other side of Hardee’s: a little healthier, just as tasty.”  

I was sad to see that the chain was not staking its claim on big burgers, rather it was now promoting low carb burgers, any burger wrapped in lettuce, swapping fries for salad, and suggesting no mayo or cheese. It doesn’t give the calorie count for the low carb Thickburger (which seems like an oxymoron) but presumably it is less than the 1340 calorie Monster Thickburger they offer.

Why does everyone think that they need to be all things to all people? I was excited when I saw a clear brand position, and they took away that clarity when they extracted the carbs. Take a look at your organization’s “menu.” If you can’t get a clear picture of who your audience is, maybe you need to get it through your thick head that you are diluting everything by your lack of focus.

beth triplett

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