The BK brand continues to flounder
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
2 March 2011
And now it’s leaving the brand in the hands of operations. What?
Natalia Franco, Burger King’s now past Executive Vice-President Global Chief Marking Officer, is out of the position after only nine months. I wonder if she ever got unpacked? I certainly hope that Burger King did not think that all of its BK brand problems could be solved during her short tenure with the company. Its problems run a lot deeper than what can be fixed in that short period of time as brand influence is a long-term haul. Not a short one.
But after seeing what they did in conjunction with letting Ms. Franco go, I have a better understanding of what is going on in the company.
“The fast food industry in general has some serious brand-related issues, the BK brand is among the most troubled.”
It looks as though that there will not be a single executive in the entire company whose only responsibility is marketing the company. Rather, that role is now divided between Jonathan Fitzpatrick, the new VP-chief brand and operations officer, and Steve Wiborg, exec VP and president-North America. The way I read it, marketing will now be incorporated into operations.
I’m not too convinced this is the right approach for a BK brand that’s been floundering for some time now. (I have never understood how the king-constumed man created preference. It was a blatant attempt at developing the BK version of Ronald McDonald, but it lacked any emotional reason for being.) When a brand is compromised, and Burger King’s certainly is, it becomes even more important to work on building the brand with a single focus. While the fast food industry in general has some serious brand-related issues, the BK brand is among the most troubled. Rather than put finer focus on their brand, they have opted to make their marketing (and brand building) a simple job function of operations.
This is really an example of confusing activity with accomplishment. By eliminating a corporate head of marketing, Burger King’s management probably believes it has “streamlined” the marketing function by combining it with operations.
It might streamline some things but not having a brand steward, empowered to keep the focus going, leads to executives sharing responsibilities and often diverting them from their marketing tasks. Consider this: In a recent study published in the Wall Street Journal, when people multitask they do each task 30% worse than if they only did a single task at a time. The legions of Burger King franchises owners must be hoping this move does not reduce Burger King’s marketing effectiveness by 30%. I don’t think they could survive that.
Burger King must put a finer focus on the BK brand and not throw it out as parts to be picked up by operations. Its brand should mean more to them than that.
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