For 40 years, Burger King has been infusing the slogan “Have it Your Way” into the minds of millions of people. You may not realize it, but when you think about having something your way, you’re subconsciously imagining a mouthwatering quarter pound of flame-broiled beef, ripe tomatoes, crisp lettuce, creamy mayo, ketchup, crunchy pickles and onions on a toasted sesame seed bun. It’s true. Don’t fight the feeling. But, here’s the whopper: consumers won’t forget about having it their way – and they won’t have to. The brand’s new slogan “Be Your Way” is so remarkably close that it adds a slice of brilliance to this campaign.

Think about the King’s approach here: take something that’s extremely familiar and ingrained in the minds of consumers and then announce that you’re throwing it away – but not really.  Once you get the public’s attention, it’s not about the slogan at all. It’s about convincing consumers that you’re making a bold change. The King’s new slogan is intended to encourage customers to be who they are as opposed to simply getting it their way – a slight modification that also plays on the anti-stereotype campaigns modeled by the likes of CoverGirl and driven by brands like Harley Davidson.

Axel Schwan, Burger King Corporation Executive Vice President and Global Chief Marketing Officer said this in a press release: “BE YOUR WAY is a better reflection of who we are and how we want to interact with our guests. And, the executions under BE YOUR WAY will showcase our guests being their own way in whatever iteration that may be.”

For big brands that have been successfully heading in one direction, a sudden change could leave customers confused and potentially jeopardize years of loyalty. But changing the coordinates ever so slightly, as the King did, can help ease the transition because consumers still have something to hold onto.

Lately though, Burger King has been making some bold marketing moves. In a recent press release entitled BURGER KING IS NOT CLUCKING AROUND, the fast food giant proclaims that it’s out to ruffle feathers, yet again. And marketing headlines that curse without really cursing can certainly grab a customer’s attention. The company’s clever promotion at subservientchicken.com features a chicken who rose to fame, fell from grace, and is now back doing it his way. His name is Chicken Big King.

Regardless of the approach, successful brands understand that their ideology must always mirror the company’s commitment to its customer. If done right, a shift in messaging should help drive stronger, more meaningful and more consistent connections with consumers. In the end – even if it’s only perceived – your customers will, in fact, have it their way.

Image courtesy of foodbeats.com.