Brand Voice Victor: How Chipotle Uses Nooks and Cranny Content to Build Brand Engagement


Have you ever read a Chipotle cup? How about the bag your burrito comes in? Even if you haven’t, you’ve probably noticed the intriguing design on their packaging and the large amounts of words. Chipotle has been on my radar for quite some time as a brand I love and respect. Their distinct brand voice can be found on everything: cups, bags, napkins, signs within the store... places I like to call “nooks and crannies”. It’s hard not to notice their unique brand voice or connect with it - which is what makes them such a great brand. Their brand voice is solid, compelling, and makes people fall in love with them.

Here are three reasons why:

1. They’ve build a strong foundation for their content.

There’s a reason this brand connects so deeply with its audience and it all starts with their mission statement. Their founder, Steve Ells feels strongly about serving fresh, responsibly made food and educating people about what that means. Chipotle’s mission statement, “To change the way people think about and eat fast food” reigns true throughout every piece of content the brand has. It’s a rallying cry for employees and lovers of Chipotle that food should be made more responsibly and with local, fresh ingredients. What starts as the foundation is then built upon by their core values (which is also one of their taglines), “Food with Integrity”.

Food with Integrity is our commitment to always look closer, dig deeper, and work harder to ensure that our actions are making things better, not worse. It’s our promise to run our business in a way that doesn't exploit animals, people or the environment. It is the philosophy that guides every decision we make at Chipotle.” - Steve Ells

They've started with a strong and empowering Mission Statement as their content foundation and rallying cry for their brand and reinforced it with core values for everyone in the organization (even copywriters) to stand behind.

2. They have personality.

From their mission statement and core values, they've built a personality for their brand: “Integrity with a side of attitude”. Chipotle’s copy gets your attention! They want to educate you but they want it to be entertaining. Here’s an example from their website that talks about food with integrity but in their own brand voice:


3. They don’t neglect the “Nooks and Crannies” Copy

When I say their personality is on everything, I really do mean everything. Their packaging is a perfect example of where you can find Chipotle’s “integrity with attitude” brand voice. The copy for Chipotles packaging is referred to as “passionate ramblings”. It was designed to get people to read while they eat. They use their packaging to share thoughts, humor and ideas.

In a new push, Chipotle has curated things from authors, comedians, thought leaders and artists to create “a moment of analog pause in a digital world”. There are 40 unique stories with matching illustrations that have been curated. Their cups have stories written by different authors called the “Cultivating Thought Author Series”. These stories were compiled as way to entertain and also get people to stop what they’re doing and read something interesting instead of staring at a phone or a tablet. This creates an experience - a distinctly “Chipotle” experience that whether in the store or at the office you will have as you chow down on their delicious food and get entertained (and educated) by their packaging.

What makes people LOVE a brand? When they feel empowered and emotionally connected to it, or when they feel good after interacting with it or purchasing from it. This is how Chipotle wins. They started with a passion, put it into a mission statement, developed a unique personality and voice and put it on everything.

Have you ever read something on a package or a website that made you chuckle, feel good or just smile? That’s brand voice doing its job. What’s incredible about Chipotle is that you can find it on everything. Who are your brand voice victors?