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McDonald’s: Is the Brand Missing the Millennial Mark?

Susan Murray

October 11, 2016
Susan Murray

It’s been a struggle lately for one of the most iconic brands in the world.

Ronald McDonald is keeping a low profile these days because of the creepy, scary clown sightings.

Now comes word from the Wall Street Journal that only one in five millennials has ever tasted a Big Mac – that’s just 20% of that coveted target audience.

Once (and for decades) the undisputed fast food king, McDonald’s has been losing ground to both “better quality” burger and “healthier choice” options. The chain has tried new menu items, is testing fresh beef, focusing on flavor, and has launched all-day breakfast. The success of the latter has led to expanded all-day breakfast offerings.

McDonald’s is a burger chain that built its brand on value and speed – likely sacrificing quality. If the company changes its approach to cooking burgers to raise the quality of the product, it likely does so at the risk of one of its hallmarks: speed.

Good or fast? McDonald’s must adapt its brand and products to satisfy consumers who want better quality but still want it fast and cheap.

An early mentor once told me there are three attributes of marketing/advertising (all goods and services, really): good, fast and cheap. You can get two of those together, but rarely – if ever – all three.

Maybe it’s time for McDonald’s to rethink its brand. Well, their fries are still tops.