No company can do without an online presence. I know I will eat those words, but I’m just putting it out there. So, what does a company do when it really doesn’t need an online presence? The URL says it all:
Don’t go anywhere yet, just look at it again. Nothing? OK, read it backwards. If you’re a Los Angeleno (and not a vegan), you went all happy. Carl’s Jr. is second (perhaps) only to In-And-Out-Burger for between-the-bun joy.
Now, for complete joy, please visit the site.
For any company, knowing one’s place online is key. It’s the first step in any strategic self-exploration: who are we, what do we stand for, why do people love us, why should they love us more, etc., etc. More often than one might be willing to admit, the responses to these questions may not support the investment in an online presence.
And that’s OK.
What Carl’s Jr. did was quite brilliant, because they nailed three basics and one masterstroke:
- Merchandised their products
- Gave detailed, searchable information
- Did the top two in a highly sharable (even if short-lived) format
The Masterstroke is that, with this site, Carl’s Jr. bought themselves time. Most companies that don’t think they need to be online actually do, but their needs are complex and probably expensive. So they don’t act. This site may potentially be a tactic to help Carl’s Jr. bridge the gap between being online “meaningfully” and having a truly valuable online presence that makes it easier for customers to give them money. Creating a useful online presence may well involve expensive integrations with legacy systems to enable delivery of goods or services in line with customer expectations. These things take time, and rarely are they fueled by ample piles of VC money.
We don’t need to know if the need to buy time for a larger integration was behind Carl Jr’s site concept, but it doesn’t matter. The site serves as a prime example of how a little ingenuity can go a very long way. Whether midwestern or west coaster, burger fiend or vegetarian, that is a concept that resonates.