McDonald’s Brand Strategy Framework for Core Equities

To Manage Global Equities, Brand Strategy Framework is Key

To tailor to local market needs, McDonald’s employs different advertising executions in different countries. We worked with a global team to develop a core equity brand strategy framework for the six core product equities.

Focus on 6 Core Equities for Brand Strategy Framework

These six core products are critical, as they drive much of the volume, in excess of 60%.

Their North America rankings demonstrate this:

#1 World Famous Fries

#2 Big Mac

#4 Happy Meal

#5 Egg McMuffin

#7 Chicken McNuggets

#12 Quarter Pounder with Cheese

McDonald’s Brand Strategy Framework for Core Equities

5 Objectives and Business Benefits of the Brand Strategy Framework

The objectives and business benefits included:

Objective #1: Elevated focus on core product equities

Related business benefits: Leverages key strengths, provides a more balanced focus between new and core

Objective #2: Enhanced brand consistency and differentiation

Related business benefits: Strengthens consumer connection, impacting brand and business health

Objective #3: Guidelines for core equity extensions

Related business benefits: Increases brand consistency, optimizes development resources

Objective #4: Parameters for brand governance

Related business benefits: Provides marketing and development efficiencies

Objective #5: Coordinated resources for core advancement

Related business benefit: Optimizes resources

2 Most Important Deliverables of the Brand Strategy Framework: Equity Pyramid and Brand Pillars

The core product equity pyramid was the first deliverable, with five elements:

  1. product attributes
  2. functional benefits
  3. emotional benefits
  4. product personality
  5. product positioning

Together, the core product equity pyramid was used to drive core product communication guidance, to build consumer connection and brand differentiation.

The product pillars were the second deliverable.  These included product standards and how they are measured, for instance, does the product have an advantage compared with competition on taste, convenience, value or price.  These were used as guidelines for new product extension.

McDonald’s Brand Strategy Framework for Core Equities

Brand Strategy Framework Methodology

The methodology to develop the brand strategy leveraged several factbases and included the following:

  • Data review of all existing relevant information, including packaging and advertising from the different major markets of the world
  • Interviews with branding and marketing leaders from different markets
  • Case study analysis of other global brands, focused on their brand strategy frameworks, applications and organizational guidelines. These included interviews with executives at these firms. The studied brands included: Nescafe, Gillette, MasterCard and Tesco.
  • Assessment of the current equity by the core team
  • Review of the overall McDonald’s brand framework and promise. Clearly, the core product equities need to align with the overall McDonald’s brand framework
  • Creation of the desired brand equity framework, and standards, specifically the equity pyramid and the product pillars
  • Guidelines for governance and implementation
    • Communications alignment e.g., tools and resources such as online content library, reviews
    • Product alignment for new products and current portfolio
    • Measurable results with specific research hurdles explicitly outlined
    • Brand architecture and packaging guidelines
  • Creative briefs for each core equity product

While it took several years for the organization to align around the need for this work, once it was decided, a concerted effort was made, and developing the brand strategy framework for the core equity products took three months from start to finish.  With the 12 deliverables in hand (two frameworks times six core products), the McDonald’s team and their agencies moved to implementation.

McDonald’s Brand Strategy Framework for Core Equities

Brand strategy framework is a core strength of Insight to Action. Contact us to learn more.

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