Ronn Torossian considers the evolution of the Colonel

When Kentucky Fried Chicken was founded in a converted Shell gas station in 1930, there was no mistaking what it was all about; southern comfort food in the Kentucky heartland. But it wasn’t until the late 1950’s that The Colonel introduced his “finger lickin’ good” chicken in its signature bucket. At that moment, though, an iconic brand was born.

Families loved Kentucky Friend and the store franchised across the nation and, later, across the world. For decades, Kentucky Fried Chicken offered a simple menu that proved to be something different when compared to all the burger joints popping up across the country.

KFC RebrandingMore than 80 years later, there is still no mistaking what it is all about. Good, family style comfort food…with a few healthier offerings. The idea is simple, give customers options, not misunderstandings. How did KFC get there, and what can it mean for your business?

Ronn Torossian has some re-branding tips you should consider.

#1 – Never lose yourself

If you want a bucket of extra crispy or original recipe, you can still go right on down to KFC and grab that bucket. It even has a picture of the Colonel on the side. It may not be “Kentucky Fried Chicken” anymore, but KFC did not sacrifice what their brand represented when they changed focus.

#2 – Expand without eliminating

KFC has tried a whole lot of different things over the years. The Double Decker, grilled and now, boneless, but it never changed the heart of its menu. You can still get fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy; lots of it if you are in the mood.

#3 – Don’t be a slave to trends

It might seem anachronistic to have a menu full of fried foods when so many other fast food joints are advertising more health conscious offerings, but KFC understands its customers. They don’t come in for salad, so why bother putting it on the menu? Put some more biscuits in the oven instead.

Sure they offer grilled chicken, but they KNOW you will be getting the wedges and mac ‘n cheese to go along with it. This commitment to what it remains “all about” has allowed KFC to rebrand and, instead of losing itself, it has become something even more than it had been before.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.