Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Whetting the Indian Belly - Part 3

In this third and final post on the topic, we talk about the 'Place' portion of the 4Ps framework. After Indianizing their product offerings with suitable pricing and an extensive promotion strategy, fast food restaurants have enticed the Indians good enough to consume their products. But, the question remains as to how to ensure that these seemingly awed and drooling consumer base get to consume these products with ease.

McDonald's 1st store at Basant Lok, Delhi
When McDonald's opened its 1st store on a windy October the 13th in 1996, no one would have predicted that within 15 years the same brand would wind up in over 235 locations in India. This journey has been made possible due to its Joint Venture with Connaught Plaza Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. (for the Northern and Eastern Regions) and a Development License with Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. (for the Western and Southern Regions).

McDonald's 2nd store at Bandra, Mumbai
So, after opening its first store in Basant Lok, which was essentially a SBD (Secondary Business District), McDonalds opened another store in a similar location in Bandra. Thereafter, more McDonald's sprung up in SBDs and near office spaces (including the 1st drive thru at Sector 16, Noida in a Hotel which was also the 1st disabled friendly store) and eventually into Malls like Ansal Plaza, Delhi in 1999. By this way, McDonald's expanded into Tier-I cities with new outlets opening at Railway Stations (including the one at New Delhi Railway Station that operates for 24 hours a day), Airports, Metro Stations and Petrol Pumps.

McDonald's store at Kashmere Gate Metro Station, Delhi
However, this expansion was not just limited to bigger cities and McDonald's opened its outlets in  Tier-II and Tier- III citiles like Nasik, Indore, Baroda, Vapi, and Surat in the West and Dehradun, Jaipur, Agra, Patiala and Chandigarh in the North. These smaller cities have become the target markets for fast food restaurants like McDonald's who are aiming to generate larger revenues from these untapped markets with a huge population of aspirational customers. It also opened restaurants on Highways with extended operational hours and the availability of the Breakfast Menu (introduced in 2008). McDonald's also introduced Dessert Kiosks in malls which separated themselves from the traditional McDonald outlets through separate billing counters and in some case by being located in a different area in the mall.

McDonald's Dessert Kiosk
Though McDonald's was able to reach a large customer base through its outlets (dine-in customers), there was still a large number of customers who couldn't (or didn't wanted to) reach the stores. Thus, McDonald's came up with its McDelivery service in 2004 which helped it to serve the farthest corners in the big cities (where this service is available). A unique initiative was also undertaken by McDonald's  in this regard in the he crowded streets of Chandni Chowk, Delhi where they introduced bicycles for this service. This McDelivery service has since then has been expanded to the online format as well, in which customers can register on the McDonald's India website and Log-in to order their meals.

McDelivery using Bicycles at Chandni Chowk, Delhi
McDelivery option is now also available through online registration
With high growth in the fast food industry and rapid launch of new outlets by all the players, it remains to be seen how these companies expand their business in both the somewhat saturated big cities and the untapped and emerging smaller cities.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A shift in gear

Well we have been discussing a lot about fast food for the past few days.Mc Donald's, Taco Bell, KFC are all leading fast food brands.We have talked about their strategies, their positioning, their logos in depth.Now lets change the gear a little bit.Lets talk about some coffee shops.Apart from having coffee in their offerings,they offer a number of other items like pastries, sandwiches and burgers to name a few.Are they not the competitors of KFC, Pizza Hut and Mc Donald's.We should spare a thought to it.

Lets start with Cafe Coffee Day- leading coffee shop brand in India.As their tagline goes "A lot can happen over a cup of coffee". It is the most popular coffee among the youths, even young proffessionals to some extent due to its affordable pricing and "cool" ambience. People go ,have coffee, listen to music, chat, snack on items.Before CCD came into existence there was another coffee shop which was very popular-Barista. It is still there but CCD no doubt has captured the market.Barista's target audience-mainly middle aged working proffessionals is different from CCD's. On the price front, Barista is high. They also offer a wide range of mocktails and other snack items apart from coffee and ice cream shakes and so on and so forth.

Another striking feature due to globalization and increase of disposable income, even youths from tier 2 and tier 3 cities have started visiting these places.CCD is present in tier 3 cities like Bhubaneshwar. So it is no more the youths from metro cities who frequent these places.This is a good piece of news for all the fast food companies and even coffee shops who are planning to go live in the recent future.

One thing which I am desperately waiting for is the launch of Starbucks in India-which is destined to happen sometime in the near future. It will change the existing situation and give a new dimension to the entire scenario.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"Made For You"

Last month when I visited my home during Diwali vacation, I landed up at home very early in the morning and was feeling very hungry. I just asked my mom if I can have some 'Ghavan' (maharashtiran recipe like neer dosas) and my loving mom served me up hot 'Ghavans' just within an hour. And, It's nevertheless to say that I almost swallowed 5-6 of them in few mins. What a pleasurable experience to get food specially made for me which my mom has always been doing for me!!

When you visit any regular restaurant, you always expect to get the food specially made for you and you mostly get it there. McDonald's picked up the similar thought to offer its customers the food which is prepared right after they order it. and, that's how its successful Made for you (MFY) strategy came into the picture in fast food as well.
Made for You!!!

The Made for You strategy production process was both natural extension of McDonald's use of process automation and radial departure from the made-to-stock philosophy. The main objectives of this system were to allow for customized customer orders, improve service response time - within 90 secs and improve food quality and freshness. This is a system where your food is prepared just after you have ordered it. Once customer places order at the counter, counter person punches the order and order gets displayed on the monitor in preparation area, where crew members put the best efforts to serve the order just within 90 sec.

McDonald's dynamic staff at work

If we go little into the detailed part of this system, you can see two sided tables in the kitchen where mostly order is handled by initiator and assembler. Both of them work together to prepare order in least possible time made by cooks using highly technological efficient instruments like top loading toaster, condiment guns, UHCs and wrappers and boxes underneath. The process is so dynamic here that if you visit McDonald's MFY store, you will see all crew running and moving really fast.

To sum it up, we can say that the important factors to make this MFY system successful are service, quality, food preparation, people and profitability. During peak hours, customers sometimes don't get food within 90 sec, but freshness and consistency of food is never compromised. Customers always get the order hot and fresh. Surely they way McDonald's has streamlined its kitchen delivery model and made this MFY system as a standard in fast food industry!!! so, this is how leader differentiates itself!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Integrated Marketing Communications for launch of Spicy Delights by McDonalds

With the introduction of their new range of McSpicy products in India called ‘Spicy Delights’ McDonald’s has embraced technology and social networking sites in a whole new level, keeping up with the changing times.

Before the launch of the McSpicy range of McDonalds, when a customer placed an order at a McDonald's outlet, they were given visiting card-sized slips that simply read 'Coming on 28th March. French Fries' new buddy. Soft Serve's new love. Chicken Maharaja Mac's competition'.

The card carried an image of burger buns with a QR code - a specific barcode readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and smart phones - in between them instead of a patty. The QR code, which was printed across all the pre-launch merchandising elements (in-store and Out-of-Home) directed the consumer to the site microsite.

At the microsite, a rib-tickling viral called the 'The Great Spicy Speculation', in which the present items such as McVeggie, Maharaja Mac, French Fries, Mc Aloo Tikki, and Coke posed as characters and discussed the new additions in the menu on social networking sites and messenger services as if they were new joinees in an office. LinkedIn profiles were also made for the new additions, while tickets were also booked for them on a travel website.

The video ended with the message: 'The story gets spicier at'. It also routed the viewer to a page by the insecure Maharaja Mac that said 'Website not found - this site has been re-routed to It's much better than this. Besides it's LIVE right now'. People were also allowed to leave their contact details with McDonald's promising to inform them as soon as the new menu was out.

As part of the outdoor campaign, displays in the McDonald's outlets, hoardings, bus shelters and railway stations, carried ads of the pre-launch QR code and the reveal launch ads.

McDonald's rolled out a 10-day pre-launch campaign to build a buzz around the new menu. The company claims to have reached 2,50,000 people in a span of the ten-day pre-launch campaign and close to another 10,000 views on YouTube for the viral.

After the launch kiosks were launched at McDonald's outlets, where people could pick their option from Too Hot, Too Cool, Just Right. LED hoardings in a few locations carried Live Updates of the people's choice and their pictures, giving them their few seconds of fame.

Major AD’s were during the IPL matches. The company also tied up with a radio station where RJs went to McDonald's outlets and asked people about what they thought of the new McSpicy range - is it Too Hot, Too Cool or Just Right? The brand also reached out to students across 50 colleges in Mumbai.

In today’s world engagement is very important and it leads to conversation. It is necessary today to have a platform where people can express themselves and it is good for the brand to know what’s on their customers’ minds. Mc Donalds successfully accomplished this in its McSpicy Campaign. The campaign has created waves in the social media and is considered to be a social media tutorial.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Whetting the Indian Belly - Part 2

In the last post on this topic the discussion was on how fast food restaurants (taking the example of McDonald's) have modified their communication strategy for the Indian market in order to reach out to their target market segment. In this post, the focus will be how the products of these restaurants have been modified/adapted to taste the Indian tastebuds. 

Chicken Maharaja Mac, the desi version of Big Mac

When McDonald's came in India it decided to not have any beef or pork items on its menu, for the 1st time. So out went Big Mac and came in Chicken Maharaja-Mac (and the vegetarian counterpart  McVeggie). Along with this, the use of eggless mayonnaise was also implemented. The overall menu went for an overhaul with McAloo Tikki, Veg. Pizza McPuff, Veg. Surprise (introduced a little later) and Chicken McGrill also being introduced. The former three became so popular that these were exported to the Middle Eastern markets. These three were introduced at very economical prices and later became part of the Happy Price Menu (similar to Dollar Menu in U.S.A.) starting at Rs. 20 and also including beverages and soft serves. Some international items like Salad Sandwich, Potato Wedges and Coke Float were retained for the Indian Menu. 

These Indian flavours drove people in crowds (one of the possible reasons) and  product trial itself contributed to a large portion of the company's sales in its initial years. However, McDonald's wanted people to make repeat visits and eat and drink even more. So, they introduced McSwirl at Rs.7 thus giving the local ice cream carts a run for their money; and acting as an instant dessert option for the regular burger-fries customers.

Different Vegetarian options catering to different tastes

The process of 'test-marketing' before launching a product was however, not fool-proof. McDonald's came up with McCurry Pan and Crispy Chinese burgers of which the former enjoyed moderate success while the latter failed miserably despite it being economically priced. Similar was the case with Shake Shake Fries which couldn't do well in India, though it had been successful in some of the international markets.

Shake Shake Fries being a successful product in Hong Kong

From McDonald's example it can be seen that it is important that the product being launched in a new market should go through extensive testing and there is no assurance that a product highly successful in a given region (or country) might succeed in the other. There is also a need for diversity of taste on the menu in a country like India as even within a state, the demand and the liking for a particular product may vary from store to store (due to diversity of population). Keeping these things in mind McDonald's brought the international versions of its products for its Breakfast Menu but modified them through spicing and sourcing methods. Only time will tell if this new strategy of theirs works or not.

Breakfast Menu India - Hot Cakes (from International Menu)

Breakfast Menu India - Cappuccino and Sausage McMuffin (from International Menu)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Mc Donald's-The name says it all

When it comes to finding a suitable location for a store, Mc Donald's has a simple strategy.They look for locations that are suitable for their customers-in the malls, airports and even colleges.Typically McDonald's looks for intersections with traffic signals of two well-trafficked streets and ample parking.
Lets have a look at some of the branding strategies adopted By Mc Donald's.McDonalds has done a very good job of making sure that one recognizes their restaurants or products when one sees them. They use the slogan “I’m loving it” in their advertising campaigns.This is actually aimed at the young adults who are one of their core target segments.The ads frequently show people in the commercial area having fun and eating Mc Donald's products.
They have a mascot that is named Ronald Mc Donald- which looks like a clown.This mascot and the golden arch are the probably the two most prominent things that comes to one's mind when one thinks of Mc Donald's.Their logo which is a yellow M on a red background also stands out.
All these brand elements have played a tremendous role in building up the brand Mc Donald's.The food is one aspect and all these have helped in building a brand imagery around the brand.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Segmenting the right segment!!!

In one of the previous posts, we had mentioned about McDonald's franchise business model as one of its very important successful factor. But, only having right model in places does not give you sustainable leading position. Your marketing strategy has to be aligned with your model's insight. It is very important for company to understand its target customers in order to have effective marketing. If company understands its customers well, then only it can communicate with them effectively.

McDonald's is using the same strategy here. They have segmented the customers according to the bases of demographic, psycho-graphic and behavioural. They have segmented their products and positioned according to kids, students, family. They are yet to enter in adults segment specifically. The main purpose of segmenting is to classify market into smaller segments, so that we can serve specific needs of smaller segments with different service and offerings. This segmentation can be done on the basis of age, gender, lifestyle, region, etc.

In India, McDonald's uses segmentations on three different bases:
Demographic - kids, students, family
McDonald's Happy Meal includes toys for kids. It has made the outlets for students of school and colleges easy to hang out with friends. It has also made some different outlets specially for families.

Psycho-graphic - convenience and lifestyle
McDonald's has been very adaptive to cater to the needs of Indian customers. In India, larger population is vegetarian. So, McDonald's came up with products like Mc Veggie burger or Mc aloo tikki to serve the Indian customers.

Behavioural - occasions
McDonald's provides special offerings on birthdays by organizing parties at the outlets. It advises customers to go for the offers to get discounts which in turn change their buying behaviour.

So, in all, McDonald's has been pretty successful in segmenting the market effectively. There is much more scope for them to enter into different segments like adults, professional which they need to work on to enlarge their customer base. But, how much to segment also remains the important question. Only thing which needs to be kept in mind that 'You can't be all things to all people'!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Smartphones are changing the way food is ordered

Long gone are the days when famished diners had to go to the trouble of flipping through a phone book to order a pizza for delivery. Instead, the abundance of smartphones is changing the way that diners think about food and the way that restaurants and fast food joints think about diners. These days, smartphone owners have plenty of food and dining related apps to choose from. And it doesn’t matter what device they own – whether it’s an iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android phone or tablet there are lots of apps to explore.

In 2009 Pizza Hut launched its first mobile ordering app for iphone in 2009. The app was a winner, ranking in first place on Forbes’ list of “10 best branded mobile apps of 2009” and garnering two Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) 2009 Global Awards. In May, 2011, Pizza Hut launched free mobile ordering applications for the Android smartphone and the Apple iPad, as well as an updated version of its award-winning Apple iPhone app. The app trio makes Pizza Hut the leader in points of access among national pizza chains and continues the company’s commitment to utilizing digital and social media tools to get customers their favourites faster and easier than ever. The features of the latest app include-

  • Full Pizza Hut menu offering all pizzas, pasta, WingStreet wings, drinks, sides and desserts
  • Guest Checkout allows customers to order without signing in
  • Orders are automatically saved to a customer’s account for easy reordering
  • Most Popular items section provides quick and easy access to a customer’s Pizza Hut favourites
  • Specials section provides updates on new products and deals
  • Customers can add credit card options without creating an account for easy checkout

The newest addition to Pizza Hut’s mobile line-up of order food apps, the new ‘lifestyle’ iPad order food app presents each of the menu items in mouth watering, high-definition colour; has great sound-effects; and comes with a fun, new pizza-builder feature that lets iPad users drag-and-drop individual toppings on part or all of the pizza to create their “own delicious pizza masterpieces” and see what their personalized pizza creation looks like before placing their order.

It has been observed that people are becoming more and more tech savy and demand more convenience and ease of shopping. Seth Goin, the author of 'The Purple Cow (2003)' says that “Everything that can be invented has already been invented” which means everything that we do in the world of marketing has been overused and has been rendered almost useless. The world and its consumers look for something out of the ordinary. He says that cows, no matter how perfect or attractive, are still boring and commonplace, but a ‘purple cow’ would be interesting and intriguing. A purple cow is defined as something worth making a remark about. The concept has one fundamental belief - one person giving another person genuine reviews about something they believe in. The idea is to target the early adopters and let them spread the word about the product or service. The players in the fast food industry should focus on creating purple cows by going beyond just TV advertising and manufacturing and technology would be a great enabler for achieving this.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Whetting the Indian Belly

There’s an old proverb that ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’. The case for Indian men is no different, but with the increasing decline in their attention span due to the clutter of information (in the form of sights and sounds predominantly); other human senses (smell, taste and touch respectively) have started to become indifferent after sitting on the bench for longer durations during the day. Thus, the wise old marketer decided to communicate via the former senses about a product primarily meant for the latter senses. Ironical but true.

Latest campaign: Har chhoti khushi ka celebration
Fast Food Restaurant brands coming from the land across the Atlantic dwelled over the strategy that was needed for them to succeed in tapping this vast market. One major aspect of this strategy was to position their brands properly, establishing a distinct value proposition in the minds of Indians through their communication efforts. So, when McDonald’s started its operation in India, it first started familiarizing customers by introducing locally developed products including the McAloo Tikki burger and Veg. Pizza McPuff and using experiential marketing techniques by focusing on functional benefits. Thus, came up the campaign 'McDonald’s mein hai kuch baat' ( which had a mystical feel to the brand and invited the people to come and try their products.

The Happy Price Menu campaign: What your bahana is?
As the brand familiarity and popularity grew, it was now time for McDonald’s to expand on its base. While introducing its Happy Price Menu (similar to Dollar Menu in U.S.A) the company promoted the value proposition for its new range of products. Campaigns like ‘What your bahaana is?’, ‘Bees mein full dhamaal’ ( and ‘Baap ke zamane ke daam’ ( followed. For its core menu however, it used various campaigns including ‘Toh aaj McDonald’s ho jaaye’ ( which talked about the everyday experience, encouraging its customers to visit often with friends and family and enjoy their time out. This was followed by the ‘I’m lovin it’ ( campaign which was a global campaign employed in 118 countries (with literal translations being used in some regions). This use of a single campaign around the world reiterated the consistency and service quality offered by McDonald’s.

The International campaign: i'm lovin' it
Now, McDonald’s has started targeting the upmarket segments (higher income groups) with its McSpicy range of offerings while continuing with its Happy Price Menu with the ‘Har chhoti khushi ka celebration’ campaign. Thus, McDonald’s has realized that with the growth it has achieved in the past 15 years in India can be taken forward by communication targeted at the right segments.

Storyboards courtesy:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mc Donald's Strategy - A snapshot

Do you know since its inception Mc Donald's was focusing on its burgers- which is their trademark period.With increasing competition from other fast food chains they did bring about changes in their menus.They introduced family meals which are essentially value meals-pay less but get more items i.e. the combo meals. They also introduced meals for kids. To engage they kids they also started giving some kind of small gifts.
Mc Donald's is probably the first company that comes to ones mind when one thinks of franchising.But over a period of time that have moved from their mass standardization strategy to some kind of customization to suit the taste buds of their global customer base.For e.g. in India they have removed beef burgers from their menu because of religious sentiments.Instead they have come up with items like Mc Aloo Tikki Burger( i.e. a potato burger) and host of other vegetarian items.This helps them to adapt as per the needs of the country and in the process build up a strong customer base. Another important point here is about the diversity of items.They introduced their desert menu sometime back.Pies have been around for a long time though.But it was just an add on.Burgers were their main source of revenue.But not any more.Deserts have become one of the primary reasons why people visit Mc Donald's in the afternoons or evenings.They now add to the bottom line.So the company has added wide range of desert items under Mc Flurry. More on McDonald's later...Keep watching this space for more updates.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sensory branding and Olfactory Marketing

Research shows that people rated a better-smelling product higher in completely unrelated performance areas. It has been observed that scents in hotel affects the hotel’s ratings for mostly unrelated topics like customer service, cleanliness, decor, and so on.

Several researches have proved that scent has a strong impact on product sales. In an experiment at a petrol station with a mini-mart attached to it, pumping around the smell of coffee saw purchases of the drink increase by almost 300 per cent. Also, scent enhances a product’s distinctiveness, which helps consumers remember it down the line. Thus scent plays a very important role in brand recall as well. Having a brand-specific aroma wafting through an environment is a good way to make a stronger, more memorable brand impression than signage alone.

This novel marketing tool is being used by growing number of businesses around the world. “Scent Marketing” in food retailing can involve techniques such as dispersing the aromas of products, or creating a specific mood through the use of scent. Some recent examples in the international context include the Bloom grocery chain, that has put up a scented billboard (created by ScentAir) that pumps out the smell of grilled steak to promote its new line of beef, or ice-cream chain Emack & Bolio’s, which sends out the scent of waffle cones at their shops. In India sensory branding is still in the nascent stage.

Another example is Starbucks. One of the keys to the phenomenal success of Starbucks has been that its stores offer a consistent and appealing sensory experience. The music, colors, and lighting are all important, but it has been found that the wonderful coffee aroma is what dominates one’s senses on entering a Starbucks outlet.

Starbucks was under pressure to increase store revenue and profits, and, they turned to sensory branding for the solution. The most startling change was that the firm went back to grinding coffee in its stores for the sole purpose of improving the coffee aroma. Presumably, it’s cheaper to ship the coffee pre-ground in sealed packages, but Starbucks management felt that any productivity loss at the stores will be offset by improved customer loyalty and higher sales due to the aroma. Starbucks also recently dumped its breakfast eggs because their smell didn’t pair well with the coffee aroma. This is a fairly amazing reason to drop what was supposed to have been a major growth product line, and shows that some companies really DO understand sensory marketing and branding.

Realising that majority of sensory experience of drinking espresso comes mainly from the retail environment, Nestle unit Nespresso not only modified its home brewing equipment to release more enticing smells, they even launched a chain of coffee shops offering customers a rich olfactory experience just to address the perceived sensory gap in the home environment.

Olfactory marketing works so well because the sense of smell is most directly connected to the parts of the brain responsible for processing emotions. It goes directly to the limbic system, which is the emotional control centre of the brain, so when you smell something it immediately triggers an emotion whereas all the other senses have to be processed first.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Franchise strategy that worked well for McDonald's!!

In this competitive world, any organization needs to have right strategy first. The strategy should be aligned with the vision and mission of the organization, so that all the elements within the organization can direct their effort towards the same goal. Fast food industry being very competitive, all the companies need to have right strategies in place.

The popular strategy which worked for McDonald's and many other fast foot chains is Franchise system. One of the key reasons why McDonald's could expand worldwide so fast and achieve brand recognition globally is its very efficient Franchise Business model. This model has not only helped McDonald's to expand domestically as well as internationally, but it has also standardized its operation at all places. This has made them to provide same products and same experience to all its customers - no matter which part of the world they are. 
McDonald's Franchise outlet

Today, McDonald's franchise network has reached in more than 100 countries serving 52 million people with more than 30000 franchise restaurants. This had made McDonald's as world's leading food service retailer. 70 percent of the total stores are  owned by independent franchisees. 

McDonald's franchise model has been such a success that if someone thinks of buying any franchise, then McDonald's is the first name to be considered. What differentiates McDonald's franchise model from its competitors is strategy to allow its franchisees to pay just rent rather than buy their premises outright. So, buying its franchise offers a profitable option to have business with many advantages like recession free business, cheap product, non discretionary good, quick food meeting time constraints of customers.

We started this post saying that organization need right strategy to succeed. After analysing McDonald's franchise model, can we say it's right strategy for it? Is it the only strategy that worked for McDonald's? Are there any other factors which complimented this business model?

Keep checking blog for more details...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Product Placement by Fast Food Restaurants

Whether it is Shahrukh Khan driving a Volkswagen New Beetle in Ra. One or Hrithik Roshan guzzling Mountain Dew in ZNMD or Kareena Kapoor walking with a Sony Vaio in tow in Bodyguard, product placement is the new ‘IT’ thing in Bollywood. Product placement means the prominent display of a brand in a movie (or even TV shows) where the characters use the product (Big bucks required for this!!) or there is a fleeting/ flashing display (Lesser money) of the brand in the background. This phenomenon has there been for quite a long time in Hollywood with successful associations with brands like Apple, Ford and Coca-Cola which feature in about two dozen blockbusters (above $100 million grosser) every year.

Kareena Kapoor with a Sony Vaio in Bodyguard (2011)
So, how does product placement work out for Fast Food restaurant brands? The movie studios approach a potential brand for a tie-up based on the script requirements or opportunity of product placement (to cover the production budgets). Sometimes brand associations are already present (as in the case of sequels or TV/Book adaptations) and such a relationship is continued for higher brand leverage and stronger recall. 
Dunkin' Donuts featuring in Source Code (2011)
However, there are a few challenges that are present. The biggest challenge that such brands face is the ‘Use’ part of the product in the movie. It is practically impossible for the makers of the movie to feature a 60 second sequence in which a character ‘primarily’ eats a burger or a pizza (while sipping a Diet Soda) without making the audiences get bored or miffed or both. Thus, the product placement needs to be cleverly done so that it fits in perfectly into the script and defines ‘a way of life’ for the character indicating his/her preference of the brand. This challenge is quite often overcome by filming a scene alongside a restaurant sign-board or showing the product packaging (pizza boxes etc.) among other techniques.

Pizza Hut featuring in The Invention Of Lying (2009)
Another challenge is identifying with the target audience of the brand with the character that is seen consuming the product. For example, when Dunkin’ Donuts made an appearance in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps alongside the character of Jacob Moore (Shia LaBeouf as a proprietary trader); it displayed the life of a young workaholic who elicits a certain kind of lifestyle, consuming products of a known fast food brand due to the trust factor (regarding the quality of the product) as well as the time factor (paucity of time due to hectic work life).

Dunkin' Donuts featuring in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010) depicting the lifestyle of the character.

Similarly, Pizza Hut had a tie up in the movie Wayne’s World where the central character Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers as a TV show host) is prominently seen with the brand; the character displaying a laid back attitude and life of a young man.

Pizza Hut featuring in Wayne's World (1992) depicting the life of a carefree TV host     
The children are however, difficult to target in a direct manner due to legislative restrictions; and promotional tie-ins with brands are the way to do it. McDonald's for instance tied up with DreamWorks Animation's Shrek franchise by including its toys in its Happy Meals and also introducing a Guava-Mint flavoured dessert.
McDonald's Guava-Mint flavoured Dessert as a part of its tie-in with Shrek Forever After (2010)
But, both the studios as well as the fast food brands need to be cautious about the side-effects of such a tie-in, as was the case when McDonald’s had to recall 12 million glasses sold as promotional tie-in with the movie Shrek Forever After contained the toxic metal cadmium leading to a fall in share price by 1.7% for McDonald’s. Thus, before agreeing on a tie-in/ product placement with a given movie; the fast food brand should evaluate the theme of the scene in which the product will be displayed along with the overall target audience for the movie.

McDonald's Shrek glasses had to be recalled after the toxic metal Cadmium was found in them
The product placement phenomenon has become an extensive part of the TV shows and sitcoms, so much so that the TV presenters of the morning news of KVVU have McDonald’s Ice Coffee on their desks, even though they rarely touch the logo-covered cups. So, product placement is here to stay; but the job of the brand managers is to effectively reach out to their target audiences through these tie-ins. 

KVVU's Morning News presenter have Ice Coffee from McDonald's placed in front of their desks

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What makes Pizza Hut different from Dominos

Most of us have been to both Pizza Hut and Dominos.In this post I would like to capture what is it that makes both of them different from a customer point of view.
The first thing that would strike a customer is that the interiors of pizza Hut is much better than that of D. The floors are clean, the decor is good. Customer Service is also a differentiating factor.
The waiters in Pizza Hut are well- trained, courteous and the waiting time on an average is also less.But the most interesting point to be noted here is that price wise both the brands do not differ much.
Then how come Dominos is also doing well in that business?Well according to me the reason why it is doing reasonably well is because of its value proposition-delivery in 30 minutes else pizza for free.They get substantial amount of revenues because of their good delivery model. Pizza Hut also has this service.But it is not as widely used as Dominoes.
the general perception is people would prefer to go there, sit , enjoy the meal and the ambiance. They also gives special offers when anyone celebrates their birthday. I remember once one of my friends celebrated her birthday in Pizza Hut and she was given an ice-cream.Additionally, she was made to stand on a chair when everyone clapped and wished her Happy Birthday.A birthday song was also played.These small gestures make Pizza Hut so different and unique compared to Dominos.
If any one likes the service of Pizza Hut you can also ring the bell as a mark of gratitude.Such small gestures also motivate the employees and helps in maintaining a conducive atmosphere.

Overall Pizza Hut is a total package.It is not the price or quality or the variety in items that makes it different from Dominoes.Its the total value that they deliver to their customers.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Does McD have a Logo story?

The need for developing a prominent trademark has always been a first priority of every company. After all, it represents the brand of the company. The logo of any company conveys the common message, values to the whole world in an unique way. It assures the customers that all products have a specific trademark and are of same quality throughout the world. And, this is very important when company wants to expand globally. 

The Mcdonald's logo was created by Jim Schindler in 1962 and the idea was first introduced by Dick and Mac Mcdonald as arch shaped signs on the sides of their then 'walk-up hamburger stand'. From an angle, these arches look like letter 'M', and thus it was incorporated in the McDonald's logo as merger of two golden arches together. The " Mcdonald's " name was added in the logo in 1968. Though the physical arches have been disappeared from all the restaurants' building designs, the golden arches have remained in the logo and have branded the company.

The McDonald's logo reflects the meaning intended by the company. It also encompasses the durable characteristics of the food chain. The golden and red colour used in the logo represents the characteristics like boldness, power and strength. This communicates the value proposition of the company as well.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Brand Messaging on Packaging

Brand’s history can be studied by looking through the evolution of its advertising and packaging. Here we provide a set of images dedicated to one of the biggest global brands McDonalds.

Monday, November 14, 2011

McDonald's - The Big Daddy of Fast Food Restaurants

Do you know that McDonald's operates in 123 countries across the globe, has more than 30,000 outlets and represents 43% of the U.S. fast food market???
This phenomenon which started as "The Airdrome"in 1937, has taken global precedence over the minds of the people. So much so that it has been scientifically proven that many children can recognize McDonald's even before they even speak.

So what has gone behind making McDonald's one of the most successful brands in the world with an estimated value of the Brand being $ 35.59 billion?
There have been many factors contributing to its success right from being one of the first fast food chains to employ the standardization process for its products to opening up a Hamburger university giving graduates a degree in Hamburgeology (innovative eh?). However, the biggest reason for its success has been the company's skillful marketing and flexible response to customer demands including pricing strategy and new product launches including having Braille and picture menus. McDonald's has also bring strong brand relations through Ronald McDonald (its mascot), the Golden Arches (its symbol), the Big Mac (one of its top selling burgers) amongst others. These along with the brand associations created in the minds of its customers through its marketing programs have made 'quality', 'cleanliness' and 'value' synonymous with the brand. The brand has also become a global symbol of the 'American way of life'.

With new innovations and massive expansion plans (specifically in developing nations), McDonald's looks like driving the growth, popularity and penetration of the organized fast food restaurants.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Is Yum yummy?

What rings a bell in your mind when you think of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut or KFC...Well it's Yum Brand which manages all these subbrands.Each one of the above mentioned brands have their own value proposition.
Kfc is synonymous with Chicken-more specifically the tender fried chicken pieces, which are one of the highest selling items in their menu.Pizza Hut is the world's largest selling pizza chains and is popular because of the hand tossed pizzas ,stuffed crust pizzas and pan pizzas.Taco bell on the other hand is famous for their authentic Mexican delicacies like tacos, burritos, signature quesadillas etc.
What do u think how long did these brands take to become popular?Did they get overnight success or did they have to wait for long?What was their brand building practice?What were the strategies adopted by them?How did they position themselves in the minds of people?Where do they feature in a brand perceptual map?
All these are important questions that need to answered if we want to have in depth knowledge about these brands.Watch out this space for more such interesting updates...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Welcome to Fast Food world!!!

Burgers.... Pastas.... Pizzas.... Aren't these very common words in these days? The world has become so fast in recent decades, and so the food!!! This is why we, the students of IMNU (Manali Burman, Rajesh Sawant, Roshni Kumar, Safal Jain), chose fast food restaurants as the category to develop blog to partial fulfillment of our course Strategic Brand Management. During next 5-6 weeks, we will try to unveil all the facts, concepts, practices about the Fast food industry related to concepts learned in the course.

Firstly, We heartily welcome all foodies and non-foodies to our blog!!!

Do you know when and how were these Fast food restaurants originated? Well, Those were originated in United States in 1912 when first fast food restaurant 'Automat' was started in New York. Within 20-30 years, this industry grew at very decent rate. There were multiple outlets opening in western countries like Mcdonalds, Burger King, Tacobell, KFC, Dominos... and many more big names adding to the list... Recently, Fast Food Industry has grown worldwide with an appreciable rate and is getting restructured strategically... Are they bringing any new concepts? new formats? new marketing/ branding strategies? or totally different culture?.... Let us explore it for you.... Keep checking for the next post....