OAK BROOK, Ill. - Ford Motor Company recently introduced Go Further, a global brand promise that gives a voice to the One Ford plan. The concept is currently being rolled out to employees throughout the world and the phrase Go Further will also be used as a tagline in company advertising.
McDonald's Corporation – the leading global foodservice retailer with more than 33,000 restaurants in 119 countries – is also guided by a global brand promise, according to Dean Barrett, senior vice president of Global Marketing for McDonald’s. A cross-functional global team is currently putting the finishing touches on a new global brand promise for McDonald’s in line with consumer and business expectations for today and into the future.
“Our brand promise is an internal documentation of who we are as a company, what we stand for and how what we stand for helps us to deliver a better customer experience,” said Barrett. “We chose to use a different advertising tagline – I’m Lovin’ It – that has the responsibility of reflecting our brand promise in fun ways to our customers.”
In the past, McDonald’s global brand promise has been Simple, Easy Enjoyment.
“The concept of Simple, Easy Enjoyment was what we wanted consumer interaction with the McDonald’s brand to be all about,” said Barrett. “It should be simple in terms of how it’s done, getting it done and where it’s done. Easy is the ease of ordering, the ease of the experience and so forth. And the ultimate end of that brand promise is enjoyment and how we ensure that every McDonald’s experience is as enjoyable as it can be.”
Barrett says the key to success with any brand promise is in the clarity of how it is communicated to employees.
“I think employees gravitate toward it as long as it’s simple and they can understand how it will impact them and their job,” he said. “If it’s a bunch of words on a business card, it will be just a bunch of words on a business card. It has to be brought to life by each employee.”
Barrett admits that there are challenges communicating anything in a global environment.
“It’s not only difficult to communicate around the world in terms of different languages but it’s also very difficult in many cases to communicate because you have different jobs at different levels,” he explained. “And the same thing could mean different things to different people. So part of it is making sure there’s a common understanding of what it means to deliver your brand promise to your customer. What is the definition of that and how does that definition adjust a little bit by the type of job you do.”
Barrett says adhering to the company’s brand promise is just as important for employees who work behind the scenes as it is for those who have direct contact with customers.
“The people who work in Purchasing, for example, are responsible for the brand promise just as well as the people on the front line,” he said. “Part of their job is to deliver ‘simple, easy enjoyment,’ so how are they doing that with the products they’re looking at, how are they doing that with the systems that we’re setting up to make sure we bring the best products to market in our restaurants, making it simple and easy for our managers and crews to interact with those products so that we can deliver a simpler experience to our customers.”
Barrett says establishing a clear and concise brand promise has helped McDonald’s strengthen its business.
“In our distant past, one of our problems was that we were doing business in 40 countries 40 different ways. And it sounded great but the fact was if we wanted to grow faster, we had to learn to share across those 40 countries, find successes and move them quickly,” he said. “Having a common brand promise and approach gave us a lot more strength by giving us a common language that we could speak.”