CHIPOTLE

Mexican Grill
OVERVIEW:
CLIENT:
CHIPOTLE
LIGHTS... CAMERA... BURRITO?

The Mark Allan team is one of Chipotle’s top strategic partners for content that is shot outdoors. Our cost-efficient method for creating content has simplified tasks - such as shooting outside - which can be logistically complex and expensive to execute effectively.

SERVICE:
  • STRATEGY
  • PHOTOGRAPHY
  • CONTENT CREATION
  • RAPID SPRINTS

MARK ALLAN + CHIPOTLE

Chipotle Mexican Grill is a global quick-serve restaurant brand that aims to make good food accessible to everyone. Their menu items are customizable, so customers can craft their own meals that are appropriate for any diet.

Candice Beck, the Social Media Strategy Manager at Chipotle, partners with their creative team, agency partners, and I to formulate social media content calendars every quarter. She works with still photographers, animators, illustrators, and technology vendors to create, curate, and develop content across social channels with a variety of themes. All of the content is designed to cohesively work together to support Chipotle’s strategy and establish an always-on content calendar.

With a mix of their clever and humorous brand voice and beautiful food photos, social media provides a perfect platform for Chipotle to reach their target audiences.

MEETING CONTENT DEMANDS WITHOUT SACRIFICING BRANDING STANDARDS

Although Chipotle’s approach to social media has evolved drastically over the last few years, their iconic brand voice has remained constant.

For channels like Twitter, focusing on copy-only humorous tweets drives solid engagement. But what about visual channels like Facebook and Instagram? Combining beautiful food-focused imagery with the brand’s iconic voice enables Chipotle to stand out and drive engagement with various customer groups on social channels. Subtle cues allow the brand to hone in on certain target groups, while still appealing to their broader audience.

After a slight restructure, Candice and I focused their social media marketing strategy. We worked with agency partners to develop and analyze insights based on previously published content. The results fed into a social media plan and content calendar that supports the insights. But this process brought up another challenge: How do you create enough content in a cost-efficient way, without sacrificing the brand’s high standards?

CREATING BEAUTIFUL CONTENT IN AN EASY TO USE PLATFORM

When I was contacted, Candice and the Chipotle marketing team went through an onboarding exercise that helped calibrate their brand look and feel for their imagery.

This detailed process went through the dos and don’ts of creating imagery that was unique and specific to their brand. Candice was presented with different imagery options, including lighting, tone, color, composition, people specifications, product usage, and much more. This product informed Master Brand Guidelines that ensure a consistent look and feel for Chipotle’s content, regardless of the platform.

CREATING BEAUTIFUL CONTENT IN AN EASY TO USE PLATFORM

Candice quickly utilized every aspect of the Brief Builder to help with their content creation. Having access to creative talent around the world gave Chipotle opportunities to create seasonal content for winter, spring break, and summer campaigns shot in Canada, California, and Florida respectively. Chipotle’s well-crafted briefs enabled contributors to create content featuring their product in lifestyle settings to support their always-on social media strategy.

Chipotle’s team was also able to experiment with creative concepts through the Brief Builder, such as a “Burritos In The Air” brief, and a romance-themed brief that was used to announce the winners from a Valentine’s Twitter haiku. Winning submissions were superimposed atop our-created content, and the visuals were posted as a Facebook album.

“The Brief Builder provides us a quick and easy way to give our feedback, and note our favorite photographers, which then sets us up for the following brief. We’re able to select our favorite photographers that show the photography style that we really like. We’re able to note specific features of our food or packaging; things we want to show and things we don’t want to show.”

- Candice Beck, Social Media Strategy Manager, Chipotle

SAVING TIME ON PLANNING AND EXECUTION

So far, Chipotle has completed 44 briefs, amounting to over 1100 custom photos created for their specific needs. They’ve scaled content creation to include shots in the United States, Canada, London, and Paris.

My team and I also became one of Chipotle’s go-to partners for content strategy services that are shot outdoors. Our cost-efficient method for creating content has simplified tasks - such as shooting outside - which can be logistically complex and expensive to execute effectively.

Overall, We provided days of time savings for their team in planning and execution. Content briefs are submitted to photographers through the Brief Builder, and content is turned around without the team having to travel or be on set.

“We were looking to create a lot of content. If you’re a lean, scrappy team, and you need as much content at your fingertips as possible, then Mark Allan is the way to go. You’re going to get content that fits your brand and it’s going to be to your standards. If you’re a brand who’s looking for a way to create high-quality content in a cost-effective and timely manner, I would definitely recommend Mark Allan for sure.”

- Candice Beck, Social Media Strategy Manager, Chipotle