Branding for Award Winning Thunderbird Chicken
Helping a plucky street food sensation become a high street challenger brand
Spinach was engaged by Thunderbird Fried Chicken founder and F&B specialist investment firm TriSpan to develop the brand strategy and identity ahead of a national brand rollout. We plugged into a hugely experienced team to create a proposition and values-based messaging platform and electrifying visual identity.
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Born in the back of an eBay-bought ambulance in the late naughties, Thunderbird Fried Chicken is the brainchild of former NASCAR racing driver Matt Harris. After eating his way around racetracks and diners in the US, Matt made it his mission to bring an authentic fried chicken to the UK. Quick to gain popularity and plaudits for his own-recipe chicken wings, Matt secured funding in 2019 and opened four restaurants in prime locations across London.
With Thunderbird up and running on the high street, Matt and the investment team asked us to help them take the brand to the next level. On the ground experience and research had revealed a big consumer appetite for a new challenger brand to shake up the fried chicken status quo, much like Five Guys and Shake Shack have done with burgers. Our role was to interpret the market analysis and customer insight and turn it into a unique, immediately recognisable and highly memorable high-street food retail brand.
We worked alongside Matt’s team from specialist F&B backers TriSpan which included Brandon Stephens, founder of Tortilla, and Marcel Khan, who spearheaded Five Guys’ entry into Europe. Together, we redefined the brand from its foundations and created a new strategic brand platform – incorporating vision, values and proposition – based on extensive research and insights. At the very core of everything was Matt’s incredible recipe-making.
Thunderbird’s unique origin story and Matt’s scientific approach to menu development truly set the brand apart. With this in mind, we created a unique messaging platform that brought to life the brand’s maverick personality and articulated one simple brand promise: the joy of chicken. Mindfully sourced, expertly crafted, and absolutely joyous to eat. Mattodology, Maverick Chicken, 100% Frientific. We invented a bold new language.
To bring the visual identity up to speed and allude to the Thunderbird brand energy and pace of service, we developed a lightning-styled typography aka boltography. We chose a colourway that would give the brand standout on high street and create a visual point of difference to other established food retail brands.
We joined forces with Thunderbird at an incredibly exciting stage in their journey – the perfect opportunity for us to make a difference. Working with such a passionate founder and team of experts all pulling in the same direction put us in our element. We were able to apply our own specialist food and drinks branding knowledge to an exciting high street challenger brand. And we enabled the client to transform exceptional product knowledge and business insight into a memorable brand identity.
Brand strategy and architecture
Verbal identity; messaging platform and TOV
Point of sale
The instore and built environment
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“Spinach really helped us distill and define our brand in a truly meaningful and powerful way. They profoundly understand the difference between logo’s, aesthetics, messaging, merchandising and brand DNA. And they’re bloody good at all of it. Leigh, Adam and their super talented team worked relentlessly at digging into the core of our brand before designing the actual brand architecture. This provided us with not just amazing brand articulation but a foundation to work from that will serve us well into the future. Can’t recommend Spinach highly enough. All that and they’re top people. What’s not to love?”
Marcel Khan CEO