On Monday, McDonalds announced that its same store sales had fallen 4% in the US. This is after it “rebranded” with a relaunch (but this time with more lovin’) of its “I’m lovin’ it” campaign. You can read some of my thoughts about that here.
Surprisingly, it does not seem like fast food consumers want more lovin’. In fact, if McDonalds’ recent sales numbers are any indication, they don’t seem to want any lovin’ at all. In its press release, McDonalds simply stated that “Consumer needs and preferences have changed…and current performance reflects the need to evolve with today’s consumers, reset strategic priorities and restore business momentum…the goal going forward is to be a true destination of choice…and reassert McDonalds as a modern progressive burger company.”
Goodness, sales have been decreasing for some time now and it is just now figuring out that consumer needs and preferences have changed? Further, it was not that long ago that all McDonalds wanted to do was give consumers “more lovin.”
McDonalds is a lot of things to a lot of people, and I for one have never thought of its as being a modern progressive burger company. My view has been that the fast food customer needs and preferences have been changing for quite a while. Therefore, the concept of “more lovin’”was disingenuous and had nothing to do with building preference and loyalty. McDonalds has always used its heritage as one of its strongest brand attributes.
So what is going on in the hallowed halls of the Golden Arches? As an outsider, McDonalds is quickly falling into the trap of being reactive. It has lost its way and is panicking a bit. Rather than take a step back and really figure out what it needs truly own, it is looking for a series of band-aids, placing one over another, over another. If you know anything about medicine, not changing the dressing of a wound will just cause infection, and I am afraid that McDonalds is infected.
As iconic of a brand that McDonalds is, it needs some desperate help with its brand. Its equity is eroding and its time to make a move is growing short.