‘We’re a planet of nearly six billion ninnies living in a civilization that was created by a few thousand amazingly smart deviants’ (Scott Adams, the Dilbert Cartoonist and founder of the ‘Dilbert principle’).

Keep that in mind, then read this….

This month, despite having to pass on a price increase to customers, US fast-food brand, Chipotle, recorded comp sales of +17%. To give some context Taco Bell’s comps were around 2%. When asked to explain why people are still so into Chipotle despite this change, their CMO Mark Crumpacker said:

‘Chipotle doesn’t play the typical marketing game where they add new menu items and try to get people in with gimmicks like that.’

But Chipotle’s success is so much bigger than marketing. It’s success comes from a fundamentally different view on the fast food industry. Instead of being another ‘ninnie’ in the market, they are the deviant. Unfraid to make food ads which aren’t happy, big enough to admit they’re increasing their prices (not waiting to be caught), or ending ties with many of it’s suppliers for not supporting humane animal practices.

The founder Steve Ells say: . “It was a very difficult experience (visiting a factory farm), being there and hearing the animals, and looking into their eyes and knowing they were suffering.”  On returning from that visit he told one of his managers ‘I can’t give any more money to those people…I don’t care (about the expense) it’s the right thing to do’.

Steve is a Deviant.

In every category there is convention we all follow (sometimes it’s so subtle we don’t even realise we’re doing it). Convention is what ‘ninnies’ are bred on. We’ve all at some time been told to do something in a particular way ‘because it’s what we’ve always done’ or even worst ‘it’s what our competitors are doing’.  Of course on the surface that makes sense, and yet it really doesn’t. Progress was never created by following the ‘ninnies’ it was created by those ‘amazingly smart deviants’.

Always be the deviant….