Jun 18, 2019

McDonald’s: Through the Golden Arches to Global Dominance

In marketing theory and analysis, we often stress that a brand is much more than just a logo. There is a multitude of other factors involved, such as the product offering, company mission and reputation, along with customer experience. However, McDonald’s is one case of a major brand being inextricably linked to its logo – with the Golden Arches recognized globally as the symbol of the fast-food giant.

It’s a powerful and meaningful image, built up over decades in business. It evokes familiarity with the products on offer, a worldwide standard in that offering and experience, as well as a sense of fun and playfulness for many customers.

While founded and headquartered in the US, McDonald’s is truly a global brand, one of the first that comes to mind when we think about the overall idea of brand. It has some 36,000 restaurants worldwide, with locations in over 100 countries, and serves tens of millions of customers every single day. It earns a significant portion of its revenue from rental payments from franchisees, who have been trained at its Chicago headquarters’ Hamburger University, designed to ensure uniformity with the product and customer experience.

Let’s look deeper at how this powerhouse brand was built to such a scale, with marketing at the heart of its expansion, and some of the challenges faced by the company. Then we’ll look at how the company has modernized and adapted to embrace the changing modern landscape, taking on major digital initiatives and campaigns.

(You can also listen below to an audio version of this case study - Power members only.)

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Conor Ward
Conor Ward

Conor is a content producer and writer, and former Membership Content Executive at the Digital Marketing Institute. In that position he played a key role in building and managing an extensive library of specialist digital marketing content for the Membership platform. He is an experienced writer and editor, both for print publications and digital platforms, with a passion for content marketing, major brands and career topics. He can be found on LinkedIn here

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