Matt Biespiel is currently the Senior Director, Global Brand Strategy at McDonald’s, the leading global food service retailer. Prior to joining McDonald’s, Biespiel was Managing Director Brand Development at United States Olympic Committe, and Vice President, Advertising at Visa USA. The Makegood recently spoke with Biespiel about McDonald’s being awarded Cannes Lions Creative Marketer of the Year.
The Makegood: Congratulations on being awarded Cannes Lions Creative Marketer of the year. This is an extremely prestigious accomplishment. As such a large, global company, McDonald’s has a lot of advertising ground to cover. What tools does the company utilize to effectively market the product?
It starts with truly understanding the brand, what it means to our customers and how to create a genuine connection with them. In McDonald’s case, we focus on the enjoyment we bring to the 70 million customers who visit our restaurants every day around the world. Creating and maintaining that connection with consumers helps us to drive continued growth. Of course, we’re always exploring new ways to engage with and add value for our customers. For that, we work closely with and rely on our partner agencies around the world.
The Makegood: Between 1979 and now, how has McDonald’s changed or improved its advertising strategy? What sort of technology has the company implemented in order to keep up with the evolving industry?
It’s hard to imagine, but there were no personal computers back in 1979, and most people had to get out of their seats to change the TV station. Today, more smart phones are sold around the world than personal computers. We now live in what I call the “finger-tip society” — an on-demand world where people can tune you in or out with the touch of a finger. What does that mean for an advertiser? It’s actually quite simple. We need to uncover deeper consumer insights and consistently deliver quality products so that consumers choose to connect with us again and again. We need to understand them better than anyone else so that they trust us to deliver what matters most to them when they want it.
The Makegood: McDonald’s has a globally known brand. How does the company brand itself to different regions? Are particular technologies or advertising strategies more successful in particular regions?
McDonald’s has one global brand, one global voice, with multiple local accents. This global voice speaks to our scale and universal appeal. The regional voice capitalizes on our being a locally relevant business and our ability to capture cultural nuances. Combined, the global and local approach makes ours a strong brand voice that communicates in a meaningful manner.
“Our Food, Your Questions” from Canada is one of many award-winning campaigns that illustrates this position. We answered thousands of questions in real time about McDonald’s food, publishing answers online via compelling videos and photography. With “McDonald’s Becomes Macca’s” from Australia, we took advantage of the local nickname and transformed 13 McDonald’s restaurants into “Macca’s” for a month to celebrate Australia Day and our 40-year anniversary in the country. It’s campaigns like these that speak to how we communicate and interact with our customers around the globe.
The Makegood: What is McDonald’s’ most recent advertising goals? In other words, what have the most recent campaigns strived to communicate to the consumer?
In the 1970s, we ran a commercial in the United States that had a song with the lyric, “McDonald’s is my kind of place…a hap hap happy place.” We feel exactly the same today. Our global advertising campaign – “i’m lovin’ it” – is intended to reinforce McDonald’s as our customers’ kind of place. We take pride in the fact that our restaurants make families feel welcome and provide fun experiences.
The Makegood: The future of McDonald’s can only grow from here. What do you see for the future of the company, and do you feel that more unique creative will consistently be successful?
Consumers are more marketing savvy today than ever before and have more choices than ever before, as well. They are connected 24/7 and, in this always-on world, creativity is a vital differentiator. The key is to create marketing that isn’t just marketing, but content that offers a real value exchange to our customers’ lives. Providing something useful to them in exchange for their time, information and patronage creates long-term emotional connections among people who love the McDonald’s brand.
The Makegood: Thank you, Matt.