The power of a brand and the role of marketing have never been more critical as consumer expectations are at an all-time high, according to Chris Brown, McDonald’s chief marketing officer.
Mr. Brown is another leading marketer with experience in advertising agencies, having spent 23 years in the space in Australia, Britain and the United States, including a role of President and Chief Executive Officer. Executive Director at DDB New York and most recently Group Managing Director at R / GA New York.
Eight months after holding the most senior marketing position at the American fast food giant founded in 1971, he has been busy with major broadcast sponsorship deals, rolling out a range of campaigns and adapting to blockages caused by Covid.
âI would say marketing has never been more important because consumer expectations of brands and businesses have never been higher,â said Mr. Brown.
âIt’s about constantly thinking, how can we understand what their expectations are? How then to meet these expectations with products, services, experiences, then surprise and delight them along the way?
âThese expectations have been driven by market transformation, new brands, new connection capabilities, new communication capabilities and that’s not changing. It will only increase and it forces brands to think and act differently.
Mr Brown, who describes his time in the role as interesting, exciting and challenging, said that over the weekend McDonald’s reintroduced its range of baked goods and bread products to all restaurants in Greater Sydney. It would also add egg cartons as an essential staple to the menu.
Helping the community safely access essential items during the lockdown has added to the long list of campaigns and activations the brand has been busy rolling out, while celebrating its 50th anniversary in Australia.
In recent months, he’s launched an ad campaign for his menu and his collaboration with the world’s biggest boy group, BTS; created its first TV commercial for the new brand platform Coffee Fit For An Aussie, which launched alongside a new McCafe coffee blend; and a fully integrated television, poster, social, digital, print and radio campaign to celebrate 50 years of the Golden Arches in Australia.
BTS’s K-pop group collaboration, which saw McDonald’s introduce an ad featuring the group’s new single, Butter, has led insane fans to rush out to sample the new sauces and jump online to secure them. clothing on the theme of Maccas and BTS.
Since launching his new blend, Mr Brown said sales have increased 6%, adding that he sells 3.5 million cups of coffee each week at McCafe restaurants.
He said the brand, which works with the DDB Group advertising agency in Australia, is still thinking about how to use creativity to elevate its advertising or content and uses âmagneticâ as a shorthand to describe how to achieve creativity. .
âCreativity is one of the most powerful things that companies and brands can deploy and creativity and innovation are an extremely important part of McDonald’s business. However, it’s how you apply that creativity that creates the competitive advantage, âhe said.
âThe language I use is how do we use creativity to make brands more magnetic?
âFrom a marketing perspective to product and service creation, how do we create engaging and compelling experiences that draw people to the brand? “
Three months of 50th anniversary celebrations are taking place in various forms, with television – in sponsorship and integration of linear, live, on-demand and increasingly – being a large part of its media mix alongside significant efforts. digital and social.
âTelevision has always been a really effective channel for McDonald’s given its reach, but the way we use this channel with advances in technology, data and digital is changing dramatically,â Brown said.
Some of his most notable sponsorships include The Block home improvement competition, AFL & AFLW, NRL, Tokyo 2020 Olympics, A league and W league.
With a large media budget and long-term marketing efforts for big brands coupled with ongoing short-term marketing campaigns, the question arises as to whether McDonald’s is too big and too experienced to fail when it comes down to it. is about pushing creativity in its marketing efforts.
Mr Brown said: âSize doesn’t mean you can’t fail or if you’re short you can’t be successful with creativity. It’s about getting back to the fundamentals of what you’re trying to accomplish and if we’re talking creativity, it has to be grounded in a very strong vision – has to be part of a really solid strategy – and then executed with force. “
Describing creativity as âthe accelerator,â Mr. Brown said marketers need to be courageous, optimistic and transparent when it comes to stimulating creativity in marketing and demonstrating the associated business results.
âBeing up front about what worked and what didn’t work is really important as a marketer because it builds credibility when you talk about how things work. It builds confidence in what you do and while it would be wonderful to do a brilliant job on everything all the time, it doesn’t always happen.
âYes, there is a certain level of bravery when you are looking to do new and different things and you have to be optimistic about what is going to work, but you also have to be transparent if it doesn’t work.
âIt’s important to know that you are learning why it didn’t work, so you can do better next time. “
Juggling his more retail- or value-focused, short-term posts that may focus on menu promotions or new items, versus his higher-value prediction storytelling ads, Mr. Brown said the two techniques are seen as creative, but in different ways.
âYou shouldn’t lower the bar on creativity just because it’s a value campaign,â he said.
âAt McDonald’s, we have a very clear understanding of how we drive the brand over the long term and also how we conduct day-to-day business – and it’s definitely a balance between the two.
âIt’s about constantly emphasizing the clear and measurable impact of effective creative marketing on a company’s success in a brand. “