International Marketing Communications: McDonald's France

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International Marketing Communications: McDonald's France

  1. 1. I’m Lovin’ ItAn Analysis of McDonald’s Fast Food Chains inFrance and a Marketing Communications Plan toHelp the Brand Improve its EquityRaihana AKHMURZINAJohan AUDASTherese LARROZAAnna RELLAMAYagmur KARAEdgar PARGAInternational Marketing CommunicationsTim Lyons28 October 2011
  2. 2. Table of ContentsI’m Lovin’ It ................................................................................................................ 1 Situational Analysis ................................................................................................ 1 Overview ..................................................................................................................................... 1 External Issues ....................................................................................................... 1 Competition ................................................................................................................................. 1 Culture ......................................................................................................................................... 1 Negative American Perceptions ................................................................................................... 2 Internal Issues ........................................................................................................ 2International Marketing Communications.................................................................. 4 Introduction ........................................................................................................... 4 Marketing Objectives ............................................................................................ 4 Target Market ........................................................................................................ 5 Communication Objectives .................................................................................... 7 Marketing Communication Elements ..................................................................... 8 Direct Marketing .......................................................................................................................... 8 Advertisements ............................................................................................................................ 8 Sales Promotion............................................................................................................................ 8Creative Strategy ...................................................................................................... 9 Positioning Statement ............................................................................................. 9 Media Strategy ....................................................................................................... 9 The Internet Campaign ................................................................................................................ 9 The Television Campaign .......................................................................................................... 10 Radio .......................................................................................................................................... 11 Print ........................................................................................................................................... 11 Media Schedule .................................................................................................... 12I’m Lovin’ It ii
  3. 3. I’m Lovin’ It Situational AnalysisOverview The first McDonald’s in France was built in 1979 and is located in StrasbourgsLes Hall shopping center. The French did at one time have a love-hate relationshipwith McDonald’s as some of them considered McDonald’s as the symbol of theAmericanization of France and also see it as France’s losing of uniqueness in terms ofits cuisine. However, over the past few years, McDonald’s has grown on the Frenchjust like in so many other countries. The fast food chain has successfully landed inFrance, and yet, with that said success, McDonald’s should still be able to generate agood, effective and sustainable marketing communications plan to stay on top oftheir game in the land of cheese and wine. External IssuesCompetition Some of the major players in the French fast food market include McDonalds,Quick Restaurants, Elior and Yum Brands. With the French fast food industrywitnessing deceleration in the last couple of years primarily due to the economicrecession prevailing worldwide, the industry is likely to recover from 2012.McDonald’s closest competitor, Quick Service Restaurants, are very popular inFrance and account for almost 70 percent of the fast food industry in the country(Business Wire, 2011).Culture McDonald’s vision to be the world’s best quick service restaurant experienceis supported by the company’s recognition of the importance of adjusting itsoperational strategies to the meet the specific dynamics and needs of the countriesin which it operates. This has played a major role in the company’s global success.In many countries, the company has modified its products to cater to local tastes.I’m Lovin’ It 1
  4. 4. The management of McDonald’s France has also been clever in adapting foodand decorations to local tastes as well as publicly advertising how many Frenchcows, chickens, lettuce and tomatoes it uses annually in local newspapers. Thephysical restaurant set up may also be altered to make the McDonald’s conceptmore appealing to European nations who were not accustomed to the fast foodrestaurant layout when McDonald’s first entered the market (Boswell, 2005). McDonald’s advertisements also vary from the global brand’s other adsaround the world. In 2010, it ran a French TV commercial featuring a gay son eatingat McDonald’s with his father not knowing about his son’s sexual orientation. Thecampaign worked in France but it spurred a lot of criticisms all over the worldincluding USA. However, in a recent interview with The Chicago Tribune,McDonalds chief of operations Don Thompson said the controversy over the Frenchad in the United States was an example of how "markets, cultures are very differentaround the world." The ad, he said, would not be airing in the United States.(Gomstyn, 2010)Negative American Perceptions The company is often seen as a symbol of American domination of foreigneconomic resources even though its foreign franchises are locally owned and uselocally produced foods. Other criticisms include allegations of exploitation of entry-level workers, ecological damage, selling unhealthy food, production of packagingwaste, exploitative advertising, etc. (Boswell, 2005) However, amidst the challenges and criticisms, McDonald’s continues itsstride as the global industry leader. France is the only country in Europe in whichMcDonald’s has consistently done well since the first outlet opened in 1979. Amongthe reasons that McDonald’s has done so well in France is the company’s upgradingand transparency strategies. Its management team has spruced up drab restaurants,improved its menus and introduced a host of innovative concepts. Internal Issues Internal issues have an impact on marketing communications of McDonald’sas well. These consist of current marketing communication strategies, currentI’m Lovin’ It 2
  5. 5. positioning, and current marketing communications. In this section, these issues willbe analyzed. McDonald’s France has different market segments. These include parents withchildren, children and teenagers. These segments all have different reasons to comeMcDonald’s. Since these different segments exist for the company, there aredifferent strategies to communicate with them. The more McDonald’s knows aboutits customers, the better it can serve them. To look at the communication strategies and positioning of the brandinternally, we are going to look at one of the components in the marketing mix:promotion. Promotion covers all types of marketing communications. The keyobjective of advertising and promoting is to make people aware of a brand. Methodsare used to create the recognizable face of an organization. McDonald’s global logois the Golden Arches but since McDonald’s is an international brand, we are going tospecifically look at its promotion and advertising strategies in France. Currently, McDonald’s uses all media channels for their marketing in Francelike billboards, TV ads, e-mailing, sponsorships, sales promotions etc. includingdirect marketing channels. Nevertheless, we believe that it is the TV ads that are onthe heart of company’s promotion strategy. Even though the aim of McDonald’s is to create a global image, it localizes itsmarketing communication campaigns because of high cultural diversity. It needs toanalyze its customer segments’ attitudes towards the product, usage patterns andreligious beliefs in that environment. Sandler and Shai described this strategy as“branding globally, but advertising locally.” McDonalds has been using the motto of “I’m lovin it” but in selected countriesthis has changed and even sometimes it has turned out to be trouble. To illustrate,the first and foremost TV ad in France of McDonald’s, in which a gay teenagerfeatures, has caused controversy in France whose slogan is “come as you are.” McDonald’s adopts its marketing campaigns with the culture. Because Frenchculture is becoming more tolerant and homogenous, accepting gay people oroutsiders in the society is an essential thing to the target market that’s why they usedgay teenagers in their TV ads. It is a great illustration of a restaurant that adopted tomatch up with the French culture and now it is closely seen as a French restaurant.I’m Lovin’ It 3
  6. 6. One of the responses is: “They could never show that in the United States orthe Christian right would boycott the restaurant forever.” However, France is theMcDonald’s second largest market in the World. France’s example for McDonald’s is a successful integration of culture andmarketing communications. Although it is an American product, it has been, over theyears, “frenchified” as the green-colored McDo where the French can go to as theyare. International Marketing Communications Introduction McDonald’s, being one of the best-known brands worldwide, aims tocontinually build its equity by developing consumer-based marketing strategies.This can be seen in the company’s marketing communication methods, specificallyin the advertising and promotional elements that they use to create the colors,designs and images that give McDonald’s its recognizable image which, of course, isheadlined by its logo. McDonald’s, being in such a crowded market, faces competition from otherbusinesses ranging from fancy restaurants to other fast food chains. To stand out,therefore, is a challenge that requires a different level of creativity and innovation.Besides this, the company has economic, legal and technological changes, socialfactors, the retail environment and many other elements to consider. Marketing Objectives McDonald’s objectives involve identifying the customer’s needs andresponding to them in a way that’s better than its competitors. To go further intodetail, this paper focuses on 3 marketing objectives:I’m Lovin’ It 4
  7. 7. n To establish in the minds of its customers that McDonald’s is a healthy and environment-friendly brand. McDonald’s in France has changed its logo from red-yellow to green-yellowas a first step towards responding to the continuously increasing health trends allover the world.n To increase customer satisfaction by increasing employee productivity by at least 20%. Trainings and skills are to be provided to the employees, for it is believed thatalthough it is the product that gets the customer to try, it is the relationships built thatkeeps the customer loyal.n To increase customer satisfaction by constantly improving and updating the operating systems and marketing databases. Another objective is to improve the restaurant system by having 24 hours 7days stores and delivery service all days and nights long. This will be somethingnew for French customers, as McDonald’s already has it in Hong Kong and someother countries, French customers will enjoy and benefit it at anytime they want,which will also increase the profits. Target Market One of the most important tasks for McDonald’s marketing team is to know theaudience. People interpret things differently. A careful understanding, therefore, ofwhom they need to address would cost the company less and would increase theeffectiveness of McDonald’s marketing efforts. In McDonald’s case, audiences could be segmented in terms of age, currentdietary practices, existing nutritional attitudes and eating behaviors. As reported, the American Dietetic Association segments adults into threegroups based on public opinion polls of people’s nutritional beliefs and behaviors.The first group, the “I’m already doing” it segment, consists of individuals who areknowledgeable about nutrition and are already eating healthy and are exercising.I’m Lovin’ It 5
  8. 8. This segment, which accounts for approximately 38% of adults, is presumably eagerfor the latest nutrition information and does not need strong persuasive tactics. The second group, the “I know I should but…” segment constitutes about 30%of adults. These people are knowledgeable about nutrition and believe that healthyeating is important, but they do not necessarily practice health-promotingbehaviors. Health messages for this group need to overcome behavioral rather thanattitudinal resistance. The final group, the “don’t bother me” segment, is the toughest to change.About 32% of adults do not care, are in denial, or have other concerns that seemmore crucial. They are not likely to pay much attention to nutrition information in thenews or in health campaigns. (The American Dietetic Association,http://www.eatright.org) Considering the segmentation made by the American Dietetic Associationand other elements such as McDonald’s current segmentation, it is best to usepsychographic segmentation to target on just two general categories of audienceson the basis of knowledge of health, attitude and opinion of McDonald’s. One segment is “I’m already doing it” segment and the other consists of thosewho frequently eat in McDonald’s and do not want to buy healthy foods inMcDonald’s. In this segment, both “I know I should but …” and “Don’t bother me”groups are included. The two have been segmented together since there is noobvious boundary between their attitudes, which is always changing because ofnutrition information sources. Even if they have different attitudes towards health,their lifestyle is almost the same and most of them are sensitive about socialacceptance and the opinion of others. If we sub-segment the aforementioned segmentation, it can be as follows:1. Young individuals, who can easily change attitudes, accept new ideas and who pay much attention on beauty and figure. McDonald’s strategy can be targeted from the perspective of “beauty-shaping;”2. Children who really believe someone whom they like such as Ronald. If they get the message of “1 hamburger + 1 salad + 1 game=1 healthy love”, they can be willing to accept that and try to persuade their families to change bad eating styles; andI’m Lovin’ It 6
  9. 9. 3. Adults who frequent McDonald’s. Most of them start to care about their health but cannot stop eating McDonald’s. “Keep eating ours in a healthier way” seems good news for them. Communication Objectives As a response to these current trends, McDonald’s - France has been aimingto design a new communications campaign to try to change the dietary behaviors ofa large number of people, including potential health-oriented customers andfrequent junk food users. McDonald’s new communication campaign, called “HappyExercise And Love Touch Health (HEALTH)” project, is in partnership with WHO,nutritionists, local communities, fitness centers and various media channels, etc. Thiscampaign initially was to be carried out in U.S. for a year and later to be brought intoeffect in other countries all over the world adaptively. McDonald’s HEALTH campaign includes organized, communication-basedinterventions aimed at different groups of people and social marketing efforts thatinclude communication activities. The following can summarize McDonald’s communication objectives:1. To change the image of McDonald’s from the junk food restaurant to one that serves healthy food. This objective aims to attract both those who are health-oriented and thosewho pay much attention on food consumption and lifestyle, thus enlarging thehealthy market.2. To change behavior of the existing consumers who are keeping on taking only junk foods; to persuade frequent fast food users to change their lifestyle by buying balanced meals from McDonald’s wide variety of old and new products. McDonald’s nutrition promoters have been facing major challenges becauseachieving and maintaining a wide-scale positive dietary change is but a complexand formidable endeavor. Moreover, for positive change to occur, McDonald’sneeds to design nutrition messages that attract attention, make sense, andI’m Lovin’ It 7
  10. 10. encourage change in people’s established attitudes and behaviors. This is to targetthe audience in a scientifically precise, yet practical and motivating manner. Withthese in place, McDonald’s concern would be on how people interpret thesemessages in the media and realize which types of messages are more effective withwhich types of target audiences psychology-wise. Marketing Communication Elements For McDonalds in France, we can suggest a few integrated marketingcommunication elements so as to increase its effectiveness in communicatingproperly the message that they want to convey.Direct Marketing Direct Marketing in the form of coupons and online customer serviceproviders can aid in the company’s communication to the public of the healthierimage that they are trying to build on. The company, being a well-known globalbrand, needs not to advertise to be known as a brand, but rather as one that’s morefocused on its customers. An objective for this element would be to release at least atleast a thousand coupons every time a new product is launched. Another would be tohave a 100% response rate when it comes to comments, complaints and suggestionsonline.Advertisements Advertising in the form of outdoor posters, television ads and the Internet canbe used for effective communication as well. Radio advertising targeted forbreakfast-seeking on-the-go workers, for example, can be played during the rushhours of the morning so as to lure customers to drop by McDonald’s and just grab aquick breakfast. A certain number of advertisements, 1 for each season (that’s 4 peryear), for example, can be used to measure this element’s effectiveness.Sales Promotion McDonalds is well known to children because of its Happy Meals. Capitalizingon this, therefore, would only strengthen the connection between the children andthe brand. A thousand free gifts, for example, can be given away for the whole yearand at least 4 joint promotions with movies or events such as the World Cup or theI’m Lovin’ It 8
  11. 11. Olympics can be established so as to provide the children with themed toys for theyear. The number of Happy Meals bought for each season can measure thiselement’s success. Creative Strategy Applying what we have learned in class, our group has come up with acreative marketing plan for McDonalds-France. Before we proceed to presenting it,however, it is important to know the company’s positioning first. Positioning Statement McDonalds in France positions itself as an establishment that offers its widerange of customers with the affordable, delicious and now healthy meal andbeverage options for greater satisfaction. Everything about their company revolvesaround health, love, happiness, burgers and of course, Ronald McDonald. Its fameand the wide variety of products and offerings allow McDonalds to have a targetmarket that extends to children, adults and everyone in between. Because of its fastfood nature, the consumers usually associate the brand to unhealthiness. Aside fromthese, however, positive associations to fun, friends, and toys also happen with thebrand. McDonalds in France, in general, capitalizes greatly on its established nameand on its efforts of making its products healthier. Media Strategy For our media strategy, we have decided to focus on 4 main communicationavenues: the Internet, the television, the radio and printed materials.The Internet Campaign The Internet is becoming more and more important in advertising—evenovertaking the television, thereby indicating the important role that onlineadvertising can do to businesses like McDonald’s. McDonald’s-France already has a website which focuses on nutrition, qualityand the green aspects. The top bar on the site is green and is clearly highlightingI’m Lovin’ It 9
  12. 12. McDonald’s new green campaign. Games or contests are put up occasionally aswell, so as to keep the consumers entertained and interested. For the next years, McDonald’s should continue focusing on the green aspectsand the nutritional information of its menu for these are the things that the customersare most worried about. Also, since there is no real information about the carbonfootprint and the environmental problems on McDonald’s website, the groupsuggests adding a section where customers can clearly see McDonald’senvironmental impact. This can strengthen the trust between the customers and thecompany. Rozenn Perrigot, Guy Basset and Gerard Cliquet discuss in their article,entitled Multi-channel Communication: The case of Subway attracting new franchiseesin France, Subway while they search for new franchisees in France and what mediasthey use for that (Perrigot et al. 2011). An interesting fact is that Subway usedregional websites in France for maximum reach to potential franchisees. Currently,McDonald’s does not have official regional websites in France, so we include thedeveloping of regional sites in next year’s marketing plan to effectively targetdifferent customer groups. The article of Perrigot et al. also mentions Web 2.0 as an important marketingmedia. This includes social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.Perrigot et al. mentioned that it is in this way that maximum number of people bereached. It may, however, be difficult to control the content of the message. Theseare already important marketing channels for McDonalds and they should be used inthe future too.The Television Campaign The television has been an important marketing channel for McDonalds for along time. Because of the resources we need to put into developing the Internetmarketing campaign, the group suggests that television advertising be kept at thesame level. Its contents should follow our plan for a greener and healthier picture ofMcDonald’s. The use of children and themes for children should be carefullyconsidered to avoid negative reactions from the customer, especially since it is noteven allowed in France for a child to promote a product (Whitelock et al. 1998).I’m Lovin’ It 10
  13. 13. According to the study of Jeryl Whitelock and Jean-Christophe Rey, thetelevision commercials in France are more national than in the U.K. This means thatthe advertising is more adapted to the country. This is probably because of thelanguage issue. French people are known of being proud of their language andculture and do not easily want to adapt to foreign languages and manners. This is animportant thing to keep in mind if McDonald’s wants to reach the French customers.Radio As we all know, the radio right now is one of the weakest communicationmethods, because of the existence of more interesting things such as the television,computers, etc., and when people are in the car, they can just plug in an iPod andavoid the bombs of publicity. In relation to this, McDonald’s just limits its radio ads tosuggestive ones that are addressed to those who are in for a quick drive through. The group believes that such strategy can still be done. McDonald’s can focuson on-the-go workers, specifically those who are most likely to grab a bite whilethey are on their way to meetings, or maybe even parents who do not have any timeto cook anything, and the kids are about to come back from school. It is on thesetimes that our ads in the radio are going to come out, so they can stop worrying andjust go buy a few hamburgers for the family.Print McDonald’s invests huge amounts of money yearly in this area. Such can beseen in how they sponsor various events especially in the field of sports. The groupbelieves that such a move is a way of promoting healthy living into the minds of itsconsumers, thus strengthening their stand for a healthier image. This strategy mustbe continued. When people say print ads, billboards are the first ones that come up in theirminds. McDonald’s uses these a lot. As a matter of fact, the group believes that all ofus have in our minds the slogan *I’m loving it* for we see it everywhere. People seethis clown and they immediately remember that his name is Ronald and that they likehim—there is brand recognition and it is strong.I’m Lovin’ It 11
  14. 14. The group also suggests that we sell the idea of the McCafe to the customersfor we think that these need work—it has almost been forgotten in France. In theseprint ads, McDonald’s goal is to not only be a fast food restaurant, but also a cafeteriawhere someone can come and sit there while reading the newspaper and have anice coffee in a warm place with some nice waiters that will be available for anythingyou ask. Media Schedule To give an overview of how often we plan to launch these media, we haveprepared the following schedule: N   D   J   F   M   A   M   j   j   A   S   O     Online                                                   Television                                       Radio                                                   Print                                      I’m Lovin’ It 12
  15. 15. BibliographyPerrigot, R., Basset, G. & Cliquet, G. (2011). Multi-channel Communication: The caseof Subway attracting new franchisees in France. International Journal of Retail &Distribution Management, Vol. 39 No. 6, p. 434-455.Whitelock, J. & Rey, J-C. (1998). Cross-cultural Advertising in Europe: An EmpiricalSurvey of Television advertising in France and the UK. International MarketingReview. Vol. 15 No. 4, p. 257-276.Boswell, Dean. Assessment of McDonald’s Growth in the French Restaurant Market.University of Maryland University College. 4 December 2005. Access:http://printfu.org/read/assessment-of-mcdonald-s-growth-in-the-french-restaurant-market-1-bc03.html?f=1qeYpurpn6Wih-SUpOGunKqnh63i6crn29LV4N2O48yVusiw3uTG4MyM45Kw4OPd6dWF1d2W2dzNhbbkztzXzpW_yt_j19rmydPkkrbP5tHa4YWdkbHYrpqfkubdkK_Zr56WppHg2ufc0uDCudPgy5eo2KagsIfaiqDjrJ2lrojd4dncqaWU4t7K3ubS5NnZ5Nna4Njl0-eWyN_fmMXZy-DMlp7OvNfV1sjVoNnS2oiw6g.Business Wire. Research and Markets: Fast Food Market in France Report CoversForecasts up to 2015 and states that Industry is likely to Recover from 2012. 7 July2011. Access:http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110707005614/en/Research-Markets-Fast-Food-Market-France-ReportGomstyn, Alice. Gay Group: Don’t Trust McDonald’s Commercial. ABC News. 22June 2010. Access: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/mcdonalds-commercial-france-prompts-charges-hypocrisy-us-gay/story?id=10975302Other links:www.icmrindia.org/www.americansinfrance.net/www.mcdonalds.co.uk/http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-06-04/news/27066205_1_controversial-ad-mcdonalds-media-mattersI’m Lovin’ It 13

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