What Does McDonald’s Know About Branding? McEverything.

By Madison Taylor
February 15, 2017

“Have you had your break today?”

If not, pull up a chair and take five to check out this post on… you guessed it… McDonald’s! The fast food giant is good for a whole lot more than just hamburgers. In fact, McDonald’s is pretty much the king of branding! Think about it. Who amongst us hasn’t spotted the Golden Arches on the horizon and instantly started dreaming of golden French fries? That’s because the McDonald’s branding team is doing their job, and we’re loving’ it!  Here’s a look at a few lessons we can learn from McDonald’s when it comes to building and maintaining brand recognition:

Consistency Counts

McDonald’s is HUGE. There are more than 36 THOUSAND McDonald’s restaurants operating throughout 118 countries around the globe. Even with this vast number of franchises, though, customers can always expect the same thing when they walk through the doors. No matter where you go, you can always find a Big Mac and some hot, just-the-right-amount-of-crispy fries. The lesson here? Offer consistency to your customers. Your clients need to know exactly what to expect from your brand at all times in order to truly identify with you.

Appeal to Consumer Emotions

Consumers are far more likely to be loyal to brands that they connect with on an emotional level, and McDonald’s proves that. For most of us, just thinking about a Happy Meal brings forth fond childhood memories. It doesn’t even matter that better food exists in this world and that higher quality toys can be purchased for less elsewhere, because buying from McDonald’s often just FEELS good. Creating emotional connections between your brand, your products, and your customers will go a long way in building a lasting brand.

Listen and Respond to Customer Needs

Make sure you’re sitting down, because this news might shock you:

McDonald’s is ranked as one of the healthiest fast food restaurants.

No, you didn’t just misread that sentence. Authority Nutrition actually lists McDonald’s as the fourth healthiest fast food chain in the country. How did that happen?!?!?! Well, the people demanded healthier options, and McDonald’s delivered. Salads, grilled chicken options, vegetables, fruit, greek yogurt, and egg whites have all made it possible for even the most health-conscious folks to find something to enjoy. Listening to the demands of customers makes your target audience feel appreciated, and thus more likely to continue offering their business and recommending you to others.

Try New Things

McDonald’s started off with just a simple concept: burgers and fries. If they had played it safe and stuck with that basic formula, we seriously doubt they’d be the branding giant that they are today. McDonald’s, though, has never been afraid to take chances. Sure, the McPizza and McHotDog never really took off (and other items like the McHula and the McAfrika totally bombed), but taking risks has yielded many well-branded delights, from the ever-popular McNuggets to the McFlurry. The takeaway here is that you should never stop trying new things, and that you should always make sure that they are tied to your brand somehow so that people make positive associations between the products they love, and who you are as a business.

Embrace Rarity

Let’s be honest: the McRib should not be popular. It consists of two buns, a piece of meat, BBQ cause, and a couple pickles. It’s about as simple as you can get, but when it’s available, people lose their $h*t! And that right there is the secret… *when* it is available. The “every now and then” nature of the McRib is a big reason why it gets so much attention. Every time it comes back, there’s a new commercial… “The McRib is BACK!” The same is true with the Shamrock Shake. When something is rare, it becomes even more popular. Remember this fact and embrace it.

There’s no reason you can’t brand yourself as successfully as McDonalds – especially when we’re on your team! Give the experts at Madison Taylor Marketing a call to get started today.