What You Can Learn About Branding from McDonald’s Memories

Posted on: Mar 04, 2014

Categories: Uncategorized

Everyone has a McDonald’s story.

Mine is the memory of walking to McDonald’s every morning before school when I was a kid. I would escape from my house, go to McDonald’s, order a big pancake breakfast (this was before I knew I had Celiac Disease), and sit quietly and eat until it was time for school. It was a safe place. I ate there so often that everyone who worked the morning shift knew my name, and as soon as I walked in, they’d have my usual order ready to go.

We all have some kind of emotional attachment to McDonald’s. You can’t walk into a room and say the name “McDonald’s” without everyone within earshot having some kind of reaction.

What does McDonald’s mean to you? Is it the place you used to go with your grandfather on Saturday mornings? Is it the place you always stop at on road trips? Is it the place you had your first birthday party or ate your first cheeseburger? Whatever your reaction, McDonald’s means something to you — it resonates in some part of you.

That’s called branding.

Now, what does your brand mean to the world? If you went into a room full of people and said your brand name aloud, what would the reaction be?

If the reaction is “What on earth is that?” then maybe you need to work on exposure.

If the reaction is “The place with the terrible automated telephone service” then maybe you need to work on customer service.

If the reaction is “I didn’t get what I ordered last time” then maybe you need to review your brand promises.

If the reaction is “I feel nothing” then you should stop reading this and go change your branding right now.

Whether people love or hate your brand (and successful brands like McDonald’s evoke both extremes), they’d better feel something. If your brand doesn’t stir up some kind of emotion in your customers, then it’s not working.

Do your clients have a [your brand] story? They’d better.

I’m collecting positive McDonald’s brand stories, so in the comment section below, share your McDonald’s brand story with me!

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