McDonald's: data is needed to fuel the symbiosis of long- and short-term branding

Panel (L-R): Harding, Somers, Upstone, Dickerson and Barnes
Panel (L-R): Harding, Somers, Upstone, Dickerson and Barnes

McDonald's regards both short- and long-term branding as equally valuable to the brand but finding the right balance has been a long journey, the brand's vice-president of marketing and food development told Media360.

A decade ago, McDonald's needed a big branding campaign to re-establish trust with its consumers but making the shift from short-term direct marketing was challenging for many of its franchisees, said the brand's marketer Emily Somers. 

"It was a big job. But we started small, ensuring footfall into restaurants was still being driven. We also had specific metrics across all our campaigns that showed our step towards branded advertising performed three-times better than previous campaigns," she shared. "It's been a long journey but, now, more than 50% of our budget is spent on long-term."

Uber Eats, on the other hand, is right in the midst of this transformation, Henry Harding, head of marketing said, and measurement is a big part of this. "Around 90% of our employees are engineering or operations people and many don't understand marketing and we need to speak their language. Metrics are what helps shift marketing from a soft thing to something more concrete."

As everything becomes more measurable, the case for long-term branding becomes easier to prove, Stephen Upstone, chief executive and co-founder of LoopMe told panel moderator Rachel Barnes, UK editor of Campaign. "It's about unpicking the measurement piece."

Measurement has made a difference to FMCG brands, Sally Dickerson, managing director of Benchmarketing, a division of Omnicom Media Group, said. "More and more, you're looking beyond sales. You're looking at how frequently customers buy, which is a long-term effect, and how much they're paying for the products too." 

Even tactical campaigns should serve long-term goals, Upstone said. "It's about unpicking the measurement piece."


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