This is for all those business people who still operate under the mistaken belief brand strategy is simply about logos, colors, and design.

A recent court decision has to be a rude awakening - at least in the area covered by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals - where watching and participating in food being prepared in a restaurant is considered an integral part of the customer experience for a brand.

The ruling against Chipotle restaurants was based on a claim by Maurizio Antoninetti (who is confined to a wheelchair) that the Chipotle chain's 45-inch dividing wall around its food prep counter prevented him from participating in the "full Chipotle experience" as his food was being prepared.

Chipotle offers a variety of accommodations to disabled patrons, including letting them view ingredients in cups, taste ingredients, and have their food prepared tableside. All of these, however, were found insufficient substitutes in presenting the full customer experience of the brand. As a result of the ruling, Chipotle has begun retrofitting the walls and changing future restaurant designs to comply with the ruling.

There you have it brand strategy fans.

A customer's active co-creation role in selecting and guiding the preparer in how a food item is assembled is an integral part of the customer experience for a brand.

While some are raising questions about the plaintiff's motives and whether the court decision makes sense, our brand strategy angle in covering the story here is there's legal proof that even tangible products have customer experience and co-creation dimensions in their brands. That's a strategic branding judgment you'll find all kinds of support for here at Brainzooming! – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your brand strategy and implementation efforts.