Ten years on, “i’m lovin’ it” has been a powerful expression of our brand and an effective way to connect our brand experience across the globe. It’s a universal message that connects with people on an emotional level. All communication strategy begins here — what is it about this new product or service will people love? The clearer we can make that message, the more excited people will be and the more likely they will be to visit our restaurants again and again.
Consumer involvement with brands is changing and brands are changing to meet the new status quo. The time is right to differentiate our brand for the future and reaffirm the love and connections that our campaign has stood for. This toolkit is here to help marketers, agency partners, and other stakeholders inform and inspire ways to reassert “i’m lovin’ it” to the world.
As we build the strength of our creative advertising and connect with consumers across all media channels, we need to focus on the strategic drivers for reasserting our brand. These are:
This toolkit contains the building blocks to help us differentiate our brand. To create momentum and excitement. And to take “i’m lovin’ it” to the hearts of our consumers. This will build the McDonald’s brand to drive the business.
WHY WE ARE
REASSERTING “I’M LOVIN’ IT”
Today, people engage with media in entirely new ways. They’re more in control than ever over what they watch, listen to and interact with. They’re also more social — engagement with brands and other people online has never been higher. And when people’s behavior changes, we must change ours, too.
This means that talking to our audience in purely rational ways is no longer enough — we must also appeal to them emotionally. We have to win the head and the heart.
Reasserting “i’m lovin’ it” is intended to accomplish three objectives:
We work closely with our advertising agency partners. Their partnership is directly connected to our success as a business and a brand. This means that yearly evaluations of their work are helpful tools in understanding what’s working and what isn’t. These assessments help us and our agencies allocate resources and help us understand our needs beyond the current scope of work. 180° evaluations provide feedback to the agency about their partnership and contribution to our business success. A 360º evaluation brings the feedback loop back to us. It creates a benchmark that guides us in evolving from year to year. If you would like to talk about the benefits and types of evaluations, please contact either Matt Biespiel or Jen Small in Global Marketing at McDonald’s HQ in Oak Brook.
Every day around the world we send out thousands of messages in various media channels. How do we know if our advertising is working? If comp sales and guest counts are up, something is working, but what? The more we know, the better we can reach customers and ensure that they care about our brand when they see and hear about it. Some markets have already begun integrating a consumer feedback into their year-long marketing tactics calendar. If you would like more information and the POV on the importance of the Consumer Feedback loop, please contact Matt Biespiel at McDonald’s HQ in Oak Brook.
We’ve learned a few ways to consistently produce insightful creative that is true to the McDonald’s brand and “i’m lovin’ it” These guidelines ensure that our work creates more value for our audience. Every piece of communication we produce should be guided by these behaviors.
We’re looking for disruptive, engaging and sharable ideas to drive our business. And the more we focus our strategic direction, the easier it will be to find those ideas. The Strategic Platform is a proven tool that focuses and clarifies our strategy and brand goals. This model should be part of everyone’s marketing plans.
“Simple, easy enjoyment that people will love” is our Brand Promise, and the foundation of all of our actions. It should be brought to life in every single piece of our communication. The pillars that support it provide strategic direction, clarify the foundation and ensure that all briefs start from the point of higher order of emotional AND rational benefits. All pillars bring the brand closer to the brand ambition — “Together, we are good food, good people, good neighbor.” This is ultimately what we want people to think about us, and should guide brand behaviors and actions.
IDEA COMES FIRST
Our strategy shouldn’t just inspire creative content, it should also inspire the methods and vehicles for distribution through media. Planning and activation should be led by the Big Idea, not media-centric tactics.
In short, Big Ideas come before the media plan, not the other way around. Instead of disconnected individual tactics, we want focused strategy that leads to big ideas, which then lead to media tactics. Big Ideas should be media-neutral and should dictate the strategy for distribution.
Our strategic drivers state that we should look for ideas people love, which will in turn inspire them to share our message. Our Big Ideas need to inherently engage and/or involve our audience. That requires more than just rethinking our creative, we must rethink how we plan and activate consumers on every brief.
People are driven by their hearts, and they only share things they love. In order to get work that inspires people to do that, we need to have a clear goal. We developed this new brief to create strategies that produce media-neutral ideas and generate brand love. The Communications Brief enables you to define our business challenge and the assignment’s goals in a simple, clear and concise way. Doing this will help our agency partners deliver an insightful Creative Brief and incredible creative.
McDonald’s “owns” the business challenge. The agency should come up with the creative solution. So briefs should never try to prescribe the solution (e.g. “the print ad should say…”). Rather, they should identify and articulate what the business challenge is, what’s causing it, and why we are trying to solve it. There should be an even balance between defining what we’re doing and explaining why we’re doing it.
This brief is meant to “answer” the challenges posed in the Communications Brief and serve as the framework for the creative strategy. Alignment on the Creative Brief is critical to staying on task to meet the challenges posed in the Communications Brief. Alignment should also reduce the need for multiple revisions to the creative concepting.
Remember, the creative team is the audience for this brief. It needs to be clear and easy for them to understand. Briefs need to help creatives develop work that will communicate ONE THING. Find things you can eliminate from your brief to make it more single-minded.
The best McDonald’s work is insightful. It dramatizes human truths about how our brand plays a relevant role in people’s lives. Dare to focus equally on the emotional reasons to believe as well as the rational ones.
CREATIVE REVIEW PROCESS
The Creative Review Process allows our system to assess creative work and discuss ways to evolve the quality of our communications. It also creates a continuous learning environment for improving our work. Why judge our own work? Because great creative work differentiates us. It creates an ownable place in people’s hearts and minds and strengthens our brand even more. But none of that can happen if we all don’t understand or agree on what great creative ideas look like.
The Creative Review Process is meant to give us a definitive standard to measure creative work and adds a dimension of accountability to our creative process.
We are all different, and so are our tastes in creativity. But subjective judging of creative work — “I like it” or “I just don’t like it” — doesn’t lead to success. That’s why we should all know the criteria by which we discuss and evaluate the quality of the creative work. The scale is additive, so each point on it is distinctive and builds on the strengths of the previous point.