McDonald’s Brand Reposition Starts With A Story

MacdonaldsBy DanBall

Branding is one thing but brand reposition takes skill, patience and above all time. And McDonalds is doing just that.

A brand owns a variety of words, names, phrases, and identity. All of this IP is shared with audiences. All in the hope of turning audience members into customers. But all brand journeys go through cycles. These cycles, or repositioning, are to revitalise, capitalise and build stronger brands with audiences.

McDonald’s is currently undergoing brand reposition. To build better brand experiences, advertise expectations and deliver the brand promise.

1. Why the reposition? 2. How are they changing the brand? 3. What are they doing?

1. Why the reposition?

Just seven years ago McDonald’s was using its adverts to promote and sell it’s products. It’s products took the center stage.

Proud Dad – ImLovin’ It Campaign

2. How is this changing the brand?

McDonald’s shift in its advertising now places focus on human qualities and emotion. Replacing their products. This move away from product benefits, the brand promise in a direct sales message.
New generations have new tastes, interests and habits. McDonald’s is slowly changing itself to reflect the new generations needs and desires.
So as the new generations, even those that are classed as the “Millenials” take up a larger portion of society. Replacing their older counterparts in; jobs, influential figures, as the social majority. McDonald’s has to teach these potential customers everything about the new brand position. The new brand position demonstrates that, the business has been listening to their customers. Identifying what should be done to improve the business and lives it effects.

The brand also has to un-teach the past and current audiences everything they once knew about the brand.

McDonald’s is repositioning itself through brand storytelling, through media channels that seem to be traditional. Though one thing can be said, this could get a lot of discredit for using traditional media like the TVC shown as the end example in this article.

However, the past (older customers) and new audiences (of a younger age than the Millenials) will be more likely to consume in a passive way. As they are less likely to use technology and social media as their Millenial counter parts. That being said you would expect the brand to think of a creative way to demonstrate this positioning with an app or social media campaign.

So we must conclude that McDonald’s is doing two things
A. Influencing older generations to take kids to McDonald’s
B. Influencing kids how McDonald’s are doing things, in a way that will continue to grow with them. To create a nostalgic sense of a company doing good. As well as a brand that values fun and creativity.

So why are McDonald’s repositioning the brand?
To stay relevant. The continual growth of social good and invested interest in a brands ecosystem,

McDonald’s has seen that for the brand to continue to maintain its audience, it must connect with them. The way that this will only happen is if it changes it’s approach to branding. Through business and social good. And communicating this through storytelling.

The MacDonalds brand does not have change it’s meaning so much to leave past and current customers alienated. But it’s values have to be altered, in a way that still shines through to past and current customers but slowing allowing teens and Tweens connect with it.


You can read here my first thoughts on McDonald’s first use of brand storytelling.

Happy Readers

This is nice advertising but there are a few problems with it. Namely, how does this tie into the business & brand objectives other than to make good pr/advertising? It doesn’t truly reflect the McDonald’s brand. If it did we would see small selection of books accessible for children. Or it would not be a campaign but a lifelong commitment.

So, a charitable good done here. But social good? Is it really helping any part of the brands business become more sustainable?

Which moves us nicely onto…

3. What are McDonald’s doing?

For a brand to successfully reposition itself it must have audiences believe the transformation. They have been slowly, subtly nudging audiences through its advertising. Other factors are PR, social/charitable good, HR and the business culture.

These all contribute to the brand story through reputation, behaviour and the brand itself. Then cultivate effective and meaningful brand experiences. For example, fast food restaurants containing books or information on farming.

This would tie back into cultivating a long term commitment to children improving their literacy. Creating a nostalgic feeling when recognising the brand.

Little Farmers

What does the commercial display?

McDonald’s brand storytelling is making use of visuals and action, camera shot and sound effects that benefit the TV medium. It is less a story but part of a reposition narrative.

The little farmer’s commercial shows that the focus has changed from product, to human value.

This reflects the brand & business much more effectively. Why? They are mentioning areas that actually influence e way they do business and are perceived. If McDonald’s were to continually invest into this story, they would become an ever stronger brand.

The lifelong commitment to education, investment into local and global farming. Organic and free range farming. – This social good providing a practical solution to sustainable business.

The organic, earthy richness of animals and farming (which is then placed onto its products, clean, healthy and good for you). Children playing and having fun (which has always been associated with the McDonald’s brand).

The message is that children are our future. They are the “Little Farmers” demonstrated in the commercial. The McDonald’s brand is positioning itself to be the leading it’s industry.

“All the whole cuts of beef we use. All the organic milk we collect. Free range chicken eggs.”

“The British farms need you”. A nice and quite subtle message to say, “Buy from us and support these British farms”.

This visual story is nothing exciting, memorable per se. But it does show it’s commitment to social good. How it’s changing elements of its business that will continue to be displayed through its brand.

This seems a far cry from the fast food associated with the advert of seven years ago. The fast delivery of food and cheap, attractive prices.
After watching the Little Farmers commercial, you think of clean, outdoors, children friendly and very organic food. More a restaurant than a fast food chain.

McDonald’s is defiantly moving in a right direction. Though its advertising could be enhanced to really take charge of its branding efforts.