McDonalds – It’s your choice

The McDonald’s brand has grown from humble beginnings as an airport food stand, opened by Patrick McDonald in 1935, to a global juggernaut that is now one of the most recognisable brands in the world.

TM500ssRecreation of the first McDonald’s store in Des Plaines, Illinois

The “modern” McDonald’s brand that we know today really began when it was first franchised in 1955. As quoted below, Ray Kroc who began the franchising of the restaurants offered an opportunity that was very little risk to the McDonald family.

“Let me open new McDonald’s stores and I’ll give you half of one per cent of the gross sales for the use of the name and the idea.” – Ray Kroc, 1955

As shown in the picture above, from very early on the “Golden Arches” which are now a key element of the McDonald’s brand were prevalent.  Although the branding for McDonald’s has changed significantly since 1955 while the business has expanded globally – it is this unique symbol that has stayed constant and is immediately recognisable for consumers across the globe and of all ages.

The McDonald’s brand has always respected the notion of emotional branding and the importance of how the brand is perceived to its consumers. The brand has been able to adapt over many decades to satisfy a range of needs and wants whilst not weakening its core business.  McDonald’s has grown to be both a convenience and indulgence option in many consumers’ eyes. Patrick Spenner, a contributor from Forbes identifies two main consumers of McDonald’s products:

  • Mother’s with Kids ( Typically Lunchtime )
  • Families ( Typically Dinnertime )

In the advertising of McDonald’s throughout the years, there has always been a focus not just on the product offering, but also the feelings and emotions associated with their brand.  Considering the age of the brand, there are multi-generational associations in place but a key driver has always been to focus on advertising and engaging children. The associated treat that is a meal from McDonald’s as seen in the below advertisement from the early 1990’s.

In addition to the emotional connections created with the brand, there has been a recent move to focus on “healthy” options, ingredients used and the “freshness” of their product.



When looking at the Australian market in recent years, and when facing changing consumer preferences and requirements, McDonald’s have leveraged their strong brand name and developed a number of brand extensions by developing the ‘McCafe’ and ‘Create Your Taste’ sub brands and products.  The aim of these additional offerings has been to provide breadth to the product portfolio and gain greater coverage in the fast-food market.

The development of McCafe has been focussed on appealing to consumer’s desire for café style dining and providing a quality, consistent product at a large number of locations. The ‘Create Your Taste’ platform however is more focussed on providing a greater choice to customers on the meal they have and provides a more personal/table based service, where a McDonald’s employee delivers your meal to your table. Both of these sub brands are designed to maximise the value of each transaction.

To ensure the business is reactive to consumer desires McDonald’s has put an even greater focus on ‘Outside-In’ product development whereby customers drive new products. They are able to do this by having constant engagement and real time communication with customers through multiple channels both online and in store.

McDonald’s is one of the strongest and most recognisable brands in the world which though long term targeted marketing and engagement strategies sees a broad customer base – Something many other brands only dream of being able to do.


Name: Anthony Mason

Deakin ID: 900209063

WordPress username: maant90



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