McDonald’s Marketing Strategy: What Makes The World Lovin’ It?

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There is no doubt that everyone loves food. It has been a pleasurable activity that people enjoy.

But as the lives of everyone becomes busier, the more they barely have time to prepare food, let alone cook. Because of this, fast food chain restaurants became a hit.

Do a quick survey among friends, family members, and employees, and many would say how convenient it is to eat at fast food chain restaurants.

You may get several affirmative answers that they often grab a bite at McDonald's, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

According to FiscalTimes, McDonald's served meals for 68 million people per day. That was equivalent to around 1% of the global population in 2012.

But what does this leading fast food chain restaurant have that makes the world lovin’ it? Besides its famous French fries and various types of burgers, McDonald’s has an exceptional marketing strategy that offers flavours without borders. 

McDonald's has been making smart decisions with its marketing strategy since the brand’s inception. Perhaps you could learn a thing or two from McDonald’s to successfully market your business, attract more potential customers, and grow.

Part I: A brief history of McDonald’s: the rise of the golden arches

From hotdog stands to a multinational brand, McDonald’s marketing strategy has gone through several ups and downs over the past decades.

McDonald's Marketing Strategy: What Makes The World Lovin’ It?

Through the years, McDonald’s created a long history that touched the lives of millions, which is still unforgettable to most people today. 

To some people, McDonald’s is more than just a fast food restaurant. McDonald's is a childhood memory for most people, thanks to the amazing taste of McDonald’s food and the warm service of its staff.

The Rise of the Golden Arches

If you try to think back, you probably have your favourite childhood memory of McDonald’s. That is how effective its marketing strategy is since it can last for years and more to come. 

Would you believe that McDonald’s used to be nothing special? Like other businesses, the world’s leading fast food chain did not gain their title overnight. 

After eight years since McDonald’s brothers founded McDonald’s, Richard and Maurice McDonald had to close down their first restaurant in 1948 to renovate it to their newly envisioned version of McDonald’s and reopen it three months later.

Since then, the line in McDonald’s never seems to end. 

To learn more about the history of McDonald’s, take a look at the infographic below and see what McDonald’s has gone through, including the marketing strategy implemented to become what it is today. 

The Brief History Of McDonald’s: The Rise Of The Golden Arches

Despite McDonald's long history, the "Golden Arches" continues to rise in popularity. By 2030, McDonald's plans to remove deforestation from its supply chains and work toward net zero emissions for its restaurants.

Check out McDonald’s website today about its future marketing strategy and efforts to improve its products and services.

Part II: What can you learn from McDonald's marketing strategy?

Becoming successful is easier said than done, which is why having a role model is essential. Having a role model can inspire young entrepreneurs to stay motivated and strive hard to achieve their goals. 

In terms of marketing, one of the best role models you can learn from is McDonald’s. Below are the things that made McDonald’s the global's leading fast food chain restaurant and what makes the world lovin' it. 

1. Consistent brand identity

The first marketing strategy behind the success of McDonald’s is its consistent brand identity.

No matter how many years have passed since its inception, the strategic brand positioning and theme of McDonald’s remain the same, which makes it now iconic

The brand image that McDonald’s created became intact in everyone's mind, leading to a more meaningful connection between the brand and the target audience

If you have not yet noticed it, check out McDonald’s social media captions, commercials, billboards and more. Do you see the pattern? That is McDonald’s brand identity.

Besides the mascot Ronald McDonald, ‘I'm lovin' it’ is the next well-known brand identity of McDonald’s.

The brand’s jingle has also been featured in various McDonald's TV commercials and social media marketing campaigns for almost 20 years.

Overall, the consistent brand identity of McDonald’s highlights the happiness, great taste, and community it brings to everyone.

Whichever McDonald's location you choose, you can count on seeing the same things: the golden "M" arches, red packaging, and, most importantly, a welcoming atmosphere.

2. Innovation after innovation

It is reasonable to say that if there is one thing that never changes, it is McDonald's. While it is true that McDonald’s is consistent with its brand identity, it never forgets to innovate its products and brand so it can withstand time.  

Never-ending innovation is also the marketing strategy of McDonald's. As you have seen in the timeline infographic above, McDonald’s never stops creating new products to add to its menu as it grows and expands. 

Mcdonald’s Product Innovation

McDonald’s also considers helping its staff to innovate themselves to provide better customer service. In 1961, McDonald’s even created Hamburger University to teach and train its employees. 

Nevertheless, you do not have to establish a training facility as huge as Hamburger University to teach and train your employees.

Just make sure to monitor them from time to time and guide them to the right path so they can also innovate themselves, along with your business. 

To implement this marketing strategy, here are some suggestions on how to innovate your business.

  • Ask customers for feedback
  • Observe potential customers
  • Take advantage of customer complaints
  • Ask your staff
  • Run a contest
  • Collaborate with others
  • Take a sneak peek at your competitors

As part of innovating your business, you have to think about things more thoroughly and weigh your options before finalising your decision. Remember that every choice you make comes with consequences.

3. Operates in more than 100 countries 

Branching out is another marketing strategy that makes McDonald’s the global leader in fast food chain restaurants. In the 1950s, the concept of franchising came into the picture, leading to McDonald’s countless franchising branches. 

Even without the guarantee of success in adapting the franchising concept, McDonald’s still took the risk.

When the McDonald's brothers perfected their Speedee Service System that allowed them to sell more, they sold 14 McDonald's franchises and many more in later years. 

Mcdonald’s Branching Out

The risk that McDonald’s took decades ago has paid off. McDonald's currently operates more than 38,000 locations across over 100 countries.

Consider typing ‘McDonald’s near me' on Google or other search engines, and you will see several branches near you. 

Since McDonald’s is everywhere, anyone can now satisfy their cravings for French fries and burgers. They can drop by either one of the McDonald's branches near them. 

Nonetheless, you do not have to own and operate in more than 100 countries to become successful. Try branching out one at a time. Help each location that you have to grow by implementing proper search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques. 

Doing so will help your business appear more on search engine results pages (SERPs) and attract more customers. 

4. Keep up with customer needs

Even though McDonald’s has been around for 67 years, its brand awareness and presence continue to grow

Given that McDonald's never shies away from innovation and the challenges that the leading fast food chain restaurant has faced, it learns how to bounce back by keeping up with its customer needs.

Here are some examples of how McDonald’s keeps up with its customers.

First development of drive-thru windows in the mid 1990s

During this time, many fast food chain restaurants have opened, and take-out services have become a thing.

To outperform competitors, McDonald’s redesigned its restaurants and included drive-thru windows. This additional feature has helped and still helps customers save time to grab a bite of their favourite McDonald's meal.

Offering diverse sets of menu items

As McDonald’s expands to various countries, it learns how to adapt to different cultures.

You will notice that McDonald’s in Japan and other places offer a unique set of menu items, which is not available in one another.  

Healthier options becomes available in early 2000s

McDonald's saw that more people are becoming health conscious. To overcome this challenge and keep up with customer needs, McDonald’s starts including healthier options in its menu items, such as salads and chickens.

McDonald's even included a calorie count on its mobile app, so its customers will know how many calories they are taking if they eat a particular McDonald's meal. 

Keeping up with customers' needs means different things to businesses. To implement this marketing strategy, better learn how to think outside the box. Also, try to look at the bigger picture instead of the problem alone. 

5. Strategic pricing

Another marketing strategy that McDonald’s implemented to expand in various countries is strategic pricing. McDonald's became one of the leading fast food chains in the world because it offers delicious meals at affordable prices. 

Mcdonald’s Strategic Pricing

Before expanding to one location, McDonald's learned to consider the cost of living

Despite the fact that everyone loves to eat delicious food, not everyone can afford it, so McDonald’s started to include combo meals and specials into their menu items. Doing so helped attract more customers and earn more profits.

6. Various collaborations 

Despite the success McDonald's has reached, the leading fast food chain has never stopped implementing its marketing strategy of collaborations to grow

In the early years of McDonald’s, the brand partnered with Coca-Cola, the world’s famous carbonated drink. McDonald’s includes Coca-Cola drinks to its menu so their customers can enjoy their meal more.

However, the collaboration of McDonald's did not stop there. In 1987, McDonald’s shot a TV commercial with Michael Jordan

Before they even released it to the public, McDonald thought of another gimmick. It created toys and made a burger named after the basket player ‘McJordan’. 

Here is a clip of Michael Jordan’s McDonald’s TV Commercial in 1987.

Besides collaborating with Michael Jordan, McDonald’s did it again and again but with celebrities.

In 2020, McDonald’s partnered with BTS. They are also known as the Bangtan Boys, which is a South Korean boy band that has been taking the world by storm. 

Due to the popularity of BTS, the ARMY, which is its fandom, went gaga after watching this clip. As a result, McDonald’s global sales increased up to 57% in 2020 alone and 47% in 2021.

7. Proactive when responding to customer feedback

Everyone knows that life is pretty unpredictable, and McDonald’s is no exception. Despite its success, this leading fast food chain restaurant received a huge backlash when an American independent filmmaker released ‘Super Size Me’

It is an American documentary film that shows the impact of eating McDonald's food for 30 days straight, from breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Before McDonald’s gets further damaged, it swiftly adjusts its menu. They even changed their digital marketing plans, social media management, and internal policies to meet customer demands for healthier options. 

If you want to become successful like McDonald’s, you have to be agile with everything. Remember that every second counts, which is why the more you need to respond to and resolve customer feedback right away

To improve your customer experience, take advantage of social media marketing platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. Its growing user base can help you gain more invaluable insights from customers.

8. Diverse promotional campaigns 

Another marketing strategy of McDonald’s is its diverse promotional campaigns. Since the leading fast food chain restaurants have a wide range of potential customers, it does not only target one

Here are some of the diverse promotional campaigns that McDonald’s has.

Happy Meal

French fries and burgers are not only popular with adults, but children also love them.

McDonald's knows that so they offer a ‘happy meal’ on their menu items that come with a toy. 

Reassures customers

This digital marketing campaign doesn't include any new menu items from McDonald's.

Despite the changes brought on by COVID-19, McDonald's wants to reassure its consumers that nothing has changed about the food and services they provide.

The bottom line: McDonald's marketing strategy - what makes the world lovin’ it?

Throughout the years of McDonald’s in the fast food industry, it has been clever in implementing its marketing strategy. That is one thing that has been making the world lovin' McDonald's for decades.

No matter how many years have passed since its inception, the leading fast food chain restaurant never stops thinking outside the box to keep the customers' engagement going

While being consistent with its brand identity, it continues to innovate by developing new products and keeping up with customers' needs.

McDonald's even collaborated with various brands and celebrities to remain trendy to customers and guarantee they are proactive when responding to customers' feedback.

In other words, McDonald's itself is the marketing strategy that has made the world lovin' it since its inception, now, and in years to come. McDonald’s is not just a fast food chain restaurant but a childhood memory to many people.

Do you need help promoting your products or services online? Reach out to OOm. They are experts in Facebook marketing, and other social media platforms can help raise brand awareness and strengthen your online presence.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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