Lately, I have noticed a big jump in Subway’s brand awareness and marketing. I wanted to point out a few things they are doing to hit one out of the park. When you are selling a consumer a product, there are some traits Subway is hitting more than most in a very tactful way.

Eat Fresh

Subway’s slogan is perfect. How much more simple could they make their slogan to imply so much? Does any other national food chain come close to competing? You can see your food being made with tons of leafy greens piled high right before your eyes.

lesson: simple, powerful, implicate message

$5 Footlong

A Subway franchise owner by the name of Frankel started something huge. He was looking for a way to increase slumping weekend sales at his restaurant, and that triggered the idea of selling Footlong subs for just $5.

“There are only a few times when a chain has been able to scramble up the whole industry, and this is one of them,” says Jeffrey T. Davis, the president of restaurant consultancy Sandelman & Associates. “It’s huge.” Just take a look at what the competition has done since the $5 Footlong introduction. In fact, the $3.8 billion in sales generated nationwide by the $5 footlong alone placed it among the top 10 fast-food brands in the U.S. for the year ending in August, according to NPD Group.

lesson: pricing and branding rolled into one

Same but different

One of the biggest reasons I personally love going to Subway is for the food and how it is the same sandwich yet it is just a little bit different every time. I can order the same Roasted Chicken Breast sandwich from 5 different Subway Restaurants and they will be just a little bit different each time. Not to mention a few extra or fewer veggies or sauces adds an element of satisfaction you are looking for at that moment. Having the ability to add or take away as you see fit is a nice and welcomed change from the other fast food joints.

lesson: meeting people’s immediate needs

Carved out niche

The health industry is a multi-billion dollar annual business. Subway has carved out their niche in the fast food industry in a healthy way. They have become the default for a healthy and fast meal, two huge points.

Biggest Loser – By sponsoring a run-a-way success tv show focused on raising awareness of obesity and healthy living, Subway has cemented themselves in the health niche and is expanding quickly.

Marketing/Advertising – Eat Fresh and Fast but not Fast Food. These mantras are simple yet imply so much.

Don’t forget Jared – Subway placed a lot of faith in their spokesperson Jared. Imagine if Jared packed on the pounds again or died of a heart attack. Ouch. A very big and bold move that sets themselves apart from so many of their competitors.

Picking a fight

Subway uses its own products against the competition in their quest to elevate themselves. Subway says look at how bad McDonald’s or Burger King is for you and look how great our food is for you. The names, products and health information of different brands are listed right on Subway’s packaging and marketing material.

All food, all hours

Most fast food restaurants have to switch systems over in order to make breakfast items vs regular menu items. Subway doesn’t have this problem because they are only adding egg as an additional element. No matter what type of person you are, you’re able to enjoy breakfast for dinner and visa-versa.


Use these same elements for your own business. Find new ways to challenge the status quo, pick a fight with your competitors, carve out your niche and provide a predicable yet unique experience every time.