Growing Better, Not Bigger with Steve Robinson, Former Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Chick-fil-A, Inc.

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Marketing Trends Background


“You have leadership that is really, genuinely concerned about building relationships with customers, with people in the organization…creating long-term careers…it all starts with culture.”


Key Insights

The Brand Experience is Bigger than the Next Quarter 

Businesses want to make profit – there’s no denying that. But, sometimes you can be too focused on the bottom line and miss an opportunity to invest in the long-game. 

“Cathy’s most common question was – ‘do you think it will make the business better?’ His definition of better was not bigger, but better: better for the customer, better for the Chick-fil-A operator…a brand experience was more important than the next quarter.”

A Brand is Like an Onion 

If you want to figure out how to grow and not lose sight of your mission, treat your brand like an onion. You’re peeling back layers of something that already exists, not pulling from ideas that are completely out of left field. 

“What’s the next layer in the onion… what is the next layer of the brand that will make the brand more valuable and increase our reputation?”

The Downside to Data

One of the things Steve Robinson said is that while data is a useful tool, it might be better to implement data-based changes when focusing on short-term goals. 

“I think one of the things that has hurt the science and art of marketing is analytics that puts so much pressure on short-term results..”

About the Guest:

Steven A. Robinson is a consultant, author and speaker on organizational culture design & leadership, brand strategy development, marketing planning, and distinctive advertising principles.

He is the former Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Chick-fil-A, Inc., 1981-2015. Prior to joining the company, Steve was the director of marketing for Six Flags Over Georgia theme park in Atlanta, Georgia. This role was preceded by marketing positions at two other Six Flags properties and communications manager at Texas Instruments.

After beginning his career at Chick-fil-A as director of marketing, Steve went on to serve as vice president of the department before becoming chief marketing officer. In his most recent role, he was responsible for overseeing marketing, advertising, brand development, menu development, and hospitality strategies.

In addition to serving on Chick-fil-A’s board of directors from 2016-2018, Steve serves on several boards for organizations and ministries, including FamilyLife, Fellowship of Christian Athletes of Atlanta, Links Players International, Atlanta Hall Management & College Football Hall of Fame, and the National Football Foundation.

He holds an associate degree in business administration from Faulkner State Junior College, a Bachelor of Science in marketing from Auburn University, and a master’s in advertising from Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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Episode 302