Posted by Triple A/ 215361454
I walked into the Royal Children’s Hospital a few days back and while waiting for our turn, we decided to get some lunch to fill our hungry appetite. Of course, the kids while walking and looking for Pokemon Go, the only thing they could spot for lunch was the shiny yellow big “M”. My daughter immediately looked at me and said I love this hospital, they have McDonald’s – Happy Meal, please. As I stood in the line waiting to place our order, I wondered how come a fast food (so-called junk food) chain as a prominent place in the hospital.
Is McDonald’s targeting the consumer where the purchase decision is made on emotional circumstances?
To an extent, they have been successful in utilising the emotional influencing factor by connecting the families and their children with a smile through their Happy Meals offers and indoor play areas. They have also created a brand connection with these families through their Ronald McDonald charity organisation since 1986 and have provided vital support to over 100,000 families through a wide range of programs. (RMHC 2016).
In December 2015, McDonald’s appointed Mark Lollback as the Chief Marketing Officer for Australia & New Zealand to focus on customers’ value proposition. The company needed to understanding the consumer behaviour and make McDonald’s a customer-centric brand (Video-Salazar 2015).
Keeping this mindset, McDonald’s have recently redesigned their menus to target a wider range of customers by offering – healthier meal options, gourmet burgers and have also changed their happy meal by including a fruit with the meal.
This is not the first time McDonald’s has taken such an approach. In 1996, McDonald’s entered the India market with a completely redesigned menu focused on customer sentiment and Indian values. In the launch phase, the communication focused solely on building brand presence and product relevance. The brand’s appealed to families and kids with the introduction of the toys and other little gimmicks. McDonald’s produced campaigns targeted to the younger audience. Though this idea worked well within the main cities in India, however, they could not reach the mass audience.
Kotler et al. (2013, p.187) states “consumer purchases are strongly influenced by cultural, social, personal and psychological characteristics”, as shown in the below figure
India has a vast population of different social classes, varied religious and traditional background. McDonald’s had to invest into their menu and adapt to the Indian market taste and culture. The brand decided to localise and understand their customers in this huge market where more than 50% of the population are vegetarians and eating of beef is frowned up. For this market, McDonald’s developed its first vegetarian paneer (cottage cheese) burgers along with chicken and lamb burgers to suit Indian taste (Kannan 2014).
People are influenced by their social network and membership groups they belong to. One of the most recent campaigns by Leo Burnett India aimed to increase sociability among Indian consumer through their new product offering – The Maharaja Mac- the Social Burger. The idea behind this concept was for people to spend more time eating the big Mac (Indian version) with family and friends.
McDonald’s also caters to different audiences from young children, teenagers, to adults as well as gender-based preferences. The younger generation whose economic situation is relatively low, for them the value for money and the deal of the day is important. Working class finds McDonald’s convenient place to grab something on the go.
McDonald’s had open door policy and guided kitchen tour to demonstrate stringent customers that they not only maintained exclusion for preparing vegetation food but also the place and ingredients were healthy and clean. The purpose behind introducing this guided kitchen tour was to change the consumer perception and attitude towards the brand.
The consumer market is made up of all individuals, households who buy goods and services for personal consumption. Understanding the consumer needs of 7 billion world population itself is one of the biggest challenges. Nonetheless, businesses who understand and categorise their products based on the consumer behaviour are able to better their product offering and services to their customers.
McDonald’s have truly provided customer value and connected to their customers by adapting and changing their products in various markets.
McDonald’s – I’m Lovin’ It
Kannan, S. 2014, How McDonald’s conquered India, BBC News, viewed 2 Aug 2016
Kotler, P. Burton, S. Deans, K. Brown, L & Armstrong, G 2013, Marketing, 9th Ed, Pearson, Australia.
Ronald McDonald Houses of Charities Australia, (RMHC), Quick facts, viewed on 2 August, 2016
Salazar, M. 2015, McDonald’s VP Discusses Consumer Behavior: press release, viewed 2 Aug, 2016