Posts Tagged ‘McDonald's


Franchise Healthy: Mascot Out, Guacamole In

Burger King Retires their King Mascot in Favor of a Fresher Menu

In the past several years, Quick Serve Restaurants (QSR) have starting implementing healthier menus to reach a larger demographic of customers.  This new craze has helped many restaurants increase sales and use new marketing and advertising campaigns to draw in a previously untapped audience of healthier consumers.

The Burger King franchise recently (finally) decided to jump on the healthy trend.  Burger King, the home of the Whooper, is attempting to re-brand the system by adding a fresher approach in their fast-food menu which began with the success of the new Whopper Bars.  The Whopper Bar is a concept designed to create a more “gourmet” atmosphere for “Whopper Connoisseurs.”  With an open kitchen concept and the “create your own Whopper” menu, Burger King was aiming to reach new markets and satisfy new types of customers.  Due to the success of the Whopper bars, Burger Kings is dethroning the King mascot in favor of a fresher approach to advertising that reflects the new menu.

Freshness and healthy meals are some of the most important categories that are increasingly emphasized in the fast food world.  Competitors of Burger King began this new approach a while ago. McDonalds’s started the trend with healthy alternatives such as oatmeal, sliced apples, and salads. Subway also launched its new avocado topping and even the Cheesecake Factory has their new skinnyliciouse menu (can you use the words skinny and cheesecake in the same sentence???). Guacamole, oatmeal, and other healthy foods have proven to be very appealing to mothers and health-enthusiasts, which could be an untapped for Burger King.

Below is Burger King’s new TV spot. Its refreshing in so many ways, most notably because its not a Peeping Tom wearing a crown.

Burger King might be a little late catching up with the new changing food trends, however this new strategy will most likely prove to bring a wider consumer market into the historically  successful Burger King franchise system. According to an AdAge article, a survey by YouGov’s BrandIndex among people who had visited fast-food restaurants in the hamburger category in the last month — the same time that Burger King launched the campaign for the California Whopper — their perception of Burger King had gone from a 24.2 before the ad aired to a 34.3 just two days after the launch of the spot. (YouGov BrandIndex’s scores range from -100 to 100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive.)

Have you seen other industry trends that companies should jump in to increase market share & revenue? Tell us about it here or visit our Facebook page.


When Redesign is Bad for Business

Since the launch of Starbucks in 1971, the brand has often been imitated. Marketing strategies, packaging, and even logo design and layout have been mimicked to compete with the swanky franchise and entice customers. McDonald’s is taking this imitation to the next level with a new store design that has been fashioned after the sleek and stylish Starbucks store model. In redesigning the look and feel of McDonald’s stores, the hope is that more high-end customers will be attracted to dine-in, linger and perhaps spend a few extra bucks. Although the McDonald’s redesign is to increase competitive edge, the renovations may prove to be counterproductive.

In an interview by USA Today, Max Carmona, McDonald’s senior director of U.S. restaurant design states, “we want restaurants to reflect our brand personality, which is one of being playful, energetic and optimistic.” However, as McDonald’s moves to make its design more contemporary and modern, one cannot help but recognize the immense similarities it has to the Starbucks model and how these changes are morphing drastically from the traditional McDonald’s image and brand personality.

Traditionally, McDonald’s stores have been known for their bright signature colors of cherry red and golden yellow, Ronald McDonald (the cartoon clown mascot), large golden arches and a child friendly environment equipped with playgrounds. The people drawn to eat in the stores are most often parents with children who enjoy the playful environment. Replacing these bright colors, toys and playground equipment with padded recliners, posh wooden tables and warm painted interiors will contradict the image they have in place. It will attract an adult customer base, but it will also derail families with younger children from visiting.

A January Ad Age report estimated Happy Meals account for about 10 percent of total McDonald’s sales. “If the newly remodeled McDonalds become too popular with leisurely adults seeking a relaxing atmosphere, McDonalds could alienate a customer base that has been the cornerstone of their growth for decades,” states Cynthia Wilson, consumer writer for Investor Place.

Reinventing the look and feel of a store can greatly enhance competitive edge. However, staying inline with the current image may prove more effective for the McDonalds. The Golden Arches better be sure the push towards laptop-toting professionals doesn’t alienate this important customer base, or else it will find its renovations not just costly but counterproductive.

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Telling the Social Media Masters from the Masqueraders

907225_venitian_maskIn today’s social-media-driven society, many companies are scrambling to implement online social strategies in their marketing and PR programs. This frenzy may lead some organizations to grab the first “social media guru” who comes along in order to help them execute these initiatives.

Many people and companies may tell you they practice social media and have great results. Some may even promise you thousands of followers. But how do you know they’re legit? How do you know they aren’t just feeding you a line in order to get your business?

David Armano of Logic + Emotion helps break this down:

1. My last job was selling junk bonds
As mentioned in “Social Media’s Top 10 Dirty Little Secrets,” there’s a bandwagon to be jumped on. As you do background checks on those you choose to partner with in social business, you should be able to see ties from the past to what they’re doing now. Has this person been working in community- or Internet-related fields? That’s a good sign. Was this person selling pre-paid calling cards beforehand? Maybe not so good. There are no hard rules here, but some previous positions transfer better than others. Use common sense.

2. I’m an expert, just see the testimonials
Actually, there really isn’t anything wrong with people identifying themselves as an expert in a field or highlighting positive statements from clients or colleagues. However, it’s up to you to leverage tools like Google, LinkedIn, etc., to see what others have said about these people or to investigate further—don’t just take them at their word.

3. I can guarantee you X number of followers
Anyone who starts their pitch by promising friends, followers or even positive word of mouth is suspicious. This tells you they’re looking to “sell you” a quick fix, which is probably in response to the hype being placed on metrics such as this. The social way of doing business is often a slow burn, with complex problems to address. There are no silver bullets in an industry built on connections, relationships and the direct empowerment of citizens.

4. Social media will save you
No it won’t. Anyone framing social media as the solution to the world’s problems is more than likely looking to make a buck. That said, the prospect of doing business in a socially calibrated fashion is bigger than a new communication channel, it’s a shift that’s causing changes. However, never confuse shift with salvation.

5. Build it and they will socialize
Be wary of anyone selling a point solution that promises instant social interactions, conversations, collaboration, etc. Many businesses fail because they were built at the wrong time, in the wrong place or with the wrong tools. Any respectable practitioner will try to investigate where fertile ground is before building anything, and they will tell you if this ground doesn’t exist.

While it’s important to implement social media in your marketing program, I urge you to move slowly and deliberately in the initial stages – don’t simply grab the first person or group that comes along and says they can help. And once you have begun the setup phase, move with some forethought well.

Picture 34To repeat a concept I heard yesterday during a PRSA Colorado luncheon with Jessica Thompson (@McCafeYourDay), manager of communications for McDonald’s USA, she said to think of Twitter like a cocktail party. Don’t run in screaming, “Look at me.” Instead, take your time. Get the vibe of the room. Listen to others in the room. Then, join the discussion by replying to other tweets. Once you’ve done that, start your own tweets.

My advice, try not to get swept up in the social media frenzy. Choose your partners wisely, and enter the new media realm thoughtfully and confidently.

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