McDonald's, one of the largest food chains on the planet, is losing sales and market share all while having a huge identity crisis.
Who is McDonald's? I know we all know, but bare with me: It is the fast food restaurant for the mass market, there is always one near, family friendly great price-quality relation.
Neither of this statements is a great sales argument, but this is what has positioned McDonald's in the mind of the consumer to the point that it is the first go to option when thinking about hamburgers and you have only a few minutes to eat or you are with the family and a bunch of kids.
A couple of years ago a market segment began looking for “fresher, healthier” options rather than “fast and convenient”.
This new trend made people at McDonald's uneasy, and the identity crisis began.
A market leader should not be distracted by the competition. It has to focus on their market and how it relates to the brand.
Turning around to see what their competitors were doing made McDonald's doubt its values and their philosophy.
McDonald's offers value through its products, special offers and a good experience based on price. McDonald's main customers are families and kids.
Even if there is no specific mention of hamburgers McDonald's is a hamburger place.
Instead of focusing on its strengths, McDonald's still is the highest sales per restaurant of any fast food chain, they flinched turning around to see what other restaurants were doing. This is what they saw:
Starbucks growing its presence all over the world with relative success.
Health food restaurants with organic and environment friendly food.
Media charging that world obesity problem was caused by fast food chains and singling McDonald's out.
McDonald's reaction accelerated a nose dive in sales and complete loss of focus of their Brand Identity.
McCafé came to life with a huge investment. Now you can go to McDonald's and have a coffee.. What?
If you picture any McDonald's restaurant you think about a place filled with kids, plastic furniture comfortable enough for a quick bite, you don’t think: Let’s go to McDonald's and have a coffee.
Second distraction was the creation of healthy options on the menu, like salads and low cal sandwiches. You never ever think: I’m on a diet, let’s go to McDonald's!
Instead of assuming the personality that’s made them the leader in sales and one of the most successful fast food chains in the world with average sales of 2.6 million dollars per restaurant vs. 1.2 mill for their closest competitor Burger King. McDonald's took three personalities which has them with a huge multiple personality syndrome that confuses their customers.
Don’t get me started on McRibs, chicken Wings, Angus hamburgers and other failed experiments.
The problem wasn’t the new additions to the menu themselves, they were tasty enough. But they were not Hamburgers and the price point was just higher enough than the rest of the menu, that people just weren’t buying them.
People think about McDonald's and eat there at least once a week. They go there when they are in a hurry or when they want to take their kids out for lunch or because it’s near the office and time is short. That is why for years advertising has targeted kids and family with great success.
1.- Think they can be a health food restaurant.
2.- Think they can compete with organic eco friendly places.
3.- Trying to be a Starbucks.
Let me be repetitive: McDonald's is a family fast food restaurant with good prices and nearby.
McDonald's charm is their love for kids and families, not its Gourmet Food.
This loss of focus has made McDonald's abandon it’s core values with a close to 30% loss in sales and market share.
Brand Identity is precisely a business tool that helps focus all efforts to building successful businesses with clear personality, value set and philosophy that engages with people with same views. Being consistent and true to the company values builds strong long lasting relations with people, making a successful business.
McDonald's has to remember who they are, retake their personality and build a future based on their values. Don’t be ashamed of who they are, heck families all over the world love them! All they have to do is be McDonald's again.