“The World’s Lovin’ It”: The Global Brand Success of McDonald’s

By, Natalie Filice, Katie Kirk, & McKenna McVicker

In 2017, Interbrand named McDonalds as the twelfth most successful brand in the world. According to Interbrand, McDonald’s increased their brand value by five percent from the previous year. McDonalds has entered into 117 foreign markets and draws in millions of consumers daily.  McDonald’s continued success is worth examining in order to discover effective global branding strategies that the company employs.

The first key to McDonald’s success is their uniformity. Whatever country you visit a McDonald’s in, you are assured the same quality, experience, and food. Consumers rely on consistency, admiring the equal value regardless of the location.

The second key to McDonald’s global success is their cultural awareness. McDonald’s has clearly done their research before they enter into a foreign market. While the traditional American items such as the “Big Mac” appear on the menu, they make local adaptations to their menus. For example, in Thailand McDonald’s offers a “Samurai Pork Burger,” unique to the area. Another example is the Croatian “Tzatziki wrap.” McDonald’s has created additions in almost all of the countries they have entered into, suiting the local desires of the consumers they serve.

Another key factor to the success of the global brand known as McDonald’s is strategic market segmentation. McDonald’s is aware of which audiences are their biggest players and consumers. In the United States, the largest market of the brand, McDonald’s specifically targets children. They cater to the needs of the children with “Happy Meals,” play pins and even the image of the brand “Ronald McDonald” the happy clown.

The fourth major factor that contributes to McDonald’s global success is their adaptability. McDonald’s keeps on top of cultural trends and adapts their menus in order to work cohesively with these trends. For instance, when the health trend swept the United States, McDonald’s added healthier options such as salads and fruit to their menus. This ability to recognize differences in culture and trends and change accordingly allows the company to thrive as a global brand.

McDonald’s is continuing to increase their brand value and shows no sign of slowing down. What can we expect from them in 10 years? If they continue to practice uniformity, adaptability, segmentation, and cultural awareness they should continue to persist as a global brand leader for  years to come.

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