Growing up McDonald’s was a marketing dynamo – with brand recognition around the world.
Ronald and friends, social responsibility and quality messaging filled the airwaves.
Ray Kroc, Fred Turner hit the talk shows… delivering the brand message that McDonald’s wanted to present.
Over the decades, that messaging – that marketing – eroded to ADVERTISING
Ray Died, Fred Retired. Combined with POLITICAL CORRECTNESS – McDonald’s turned adversity into weakness. Where the brand should have returned to boldness, it cowered.
When attacked over nutrition – the brand didn’t recognize it as a result of its crumbling marketing message – it inflicted self-guilt in not trusting its products or its people. It rapidly abandoned strategies like SUPER SIZE over a false movie, instead of launching a media campaign. Hiding under the disguise of SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY for better nutrition – while competitors stole those pieces of the business and created profitable niches.
OPNAD transitioned from being a BRAND AMBASSADOR – to being a DOOR TO DOOR salesman. Its message of BUY ONE GET ONE FREE and DOLLAR MENU, not only continued to erode the brand image for QUALITY – it cheapened the brand marketing ability altogether.
Focused on REBATES and COST SAVINGS – OPNAD destroyed the McDonald’s Powerhouse image. A brand renown around the world, including starving nations. Nations that didn’t have food to eat, much less a McDonald’s, knew the GOLDEN ARCHES.
Food, Folks and Fun transitioned to cheap and low quality.
Even today, when it’s critical to deliver the message of BRAND REIMAGE and QUALITY – the brand messaging is overrun by a growing competitor field. At a time when the brand needs to ensure its message entry into every household to discuss QUALITY; it resorts to a decade old strategy of crew “telling our story”
The juggernaut that once made the world tremble with its marketing might; places its entire trust on a 16-year old pimply kid behind the register. Instead of the Multi-Million dollar abilities of its OPNAD Marketing force. Choosing, yes Choosing, to keep its focus on the same value driven marketing strategy that has placed the brand in this decline to begin with.
Leadership at all levels are responsible for the out of control development of a Program called R.O.I.P. Once designed as a program to make “good restaurants great”, has grown to a bureaucratic process with a life of its own. The program of visitations, turned to grades, turned to Mystery shops, 800-number, VOICE and other measures that have generated a complete business focus on the “TEST” and not the customer. Our people are to scared to do anything. Mistakes lead to complaints. Complaints lead to job loss.
Restaurant leadership was stressed over change, products and business results – now have to worry about ex-employees, ex-lovers or other competition infiltrating any number of measures that can lead to their termination – as it can lead to a franchisee losing their license.
Turn Over in management is the highest it’s ever been in the history of McDonald’s
McDonald’s Corporation now sets the PEOPLE, the PRODUCT and EQUIPMENT
It also now sets the PRICE.
And when things fails – It sets the blame. Never accepting any itself.
Local COOPS are useless. Most just churn out a message that’s been decided long before the meeting went into session. Forced into submission by REWRITES, GROWTH opportunities.
A system that no longer prides on the fact of WHAT THEY KNOW, choosing prizes for those WHO THEY KNOW – selecting those who will blindly carry whatever message given. Unwilling or unable to make a conscience business decision if required.
At a time when the brand is looking at so many new things, allow me to suggest it may need to go RETRO to find success.
OPNAD needs to polish the arches to build the employer image, food quality and social responsibility to aid restaurants in attracting the Quality applicants necessary to deliver the Quality, Service and Cleanliness.
COOPS need to market its food and strategies to get people in the doors.
Restaurants need to be able to upsell and provide the hospitality to keep them coming back. This means giving back the control to the POS to allow stores to generate LOCAL STORE MARKETING packages to address its customers AND (most importantly) their competition.
Field votes need to cover more than DOLLAR MENU and BREAKFAST ALL DAY. Everyone needs to have a say, provide input into design, equipment and services – THEY HAVE TO PAY FOR!
Let’s be honest has to be more than a slogan on a button.
None of us, is as smart as all of us!
And any store up for sale should open to the highest qualified bidder – not just who the region wants to promote an agenda. Especially if the "buyer" is on a leadership team.
Do these few things and the brand is 80% of the way there.
Don’t do any of these things, it’s going to be an interesting decade.