Why have McDonald's super-sized co-branding?
In this essay, we seek to give a balanced informative diagnosis of how in recent years McDonald's have tried to recreate and re-sculpt its brand image in the mindset of its customers and society as a whole. In particular, we want to focus our attention on how McDonald's has adopted the marketing strategy known as co-branding to draw on the benefits of already well-established brands. “Despite being in the midst of an obesity crisis, it has done little to curb British consumers, appetite for McDonald's” Jill McDonald 2007. In 2007, the world's biggest burger chain recorded its best sales in 10 years, leaving its UK balance sheet looking even healthier than in its homeland. More than 88 million visits were made to McDonald's UK branches in December 2007, up nearly 10 million year on year, and an additional, 320,000 customers visited its 1200 high street restaurants and drive–thru’s. (Jill McDonald senior vice-president and chief marketing officer of McDonalds) According to an annual survey by BusinessWeek and Interbrand McDonald's recently came 7th in the 100 world's most valuable brands up one place from 2006 and has had a positive change in brand value of 7%. So why, if McDonald's is such a recognized brand, is it having to buy into the success of other brands by co-branding? Co-branding as a branding strategy has seen a dramatic increase in its use over the past decade. However there is no universal accepted definition of co-branding. In the marketing literature the term has been used interchangeably with labels such as ‘brand alliance’ and ‘composite branding’ once thought of as highly complex approach for the customer, co-branding is becoming an ever more popular branding strategy. (Spethmann & Benezra, 1994). Defined broadly, co-branding is described as any pairing of two brands in marketing concepts such as advertisements, in products, product placement and distribution outlets. More narrowly defined Co-branding means the combination of two brands to create a single unique product. A product is identified with a company by its brand, and usually consists of some type of identifier. The detailed co-branding process results in a product that is fully customised to meet the particular needs of the specific company with minimal change to the underlying technology, processes and modular functionality. To understand the process of co-branding fully, one can draw on the principles of classical conditioning. Originally, classical conditioning was discovered as a method for creating physiological responses on animals. Pavlov's classical experiment, in which a metronome is paired with the presence of meat paste on a dog's tongue to elicit the salivation responses and where in the absence of the meat paste the dog salivates to the sound of the metronome, proved the theory of association. Research suggests that humans can develop physiological responses to such stimuli as well. Humans can even be conditioned to develop favorable or unfavorable attitudes towards brands/images (stimuli) or to develop understandings of the meanings of various stimuli, including products and brands. Similarly, one goal in co-branding is to create favorable attitudes towards a new product by creating an alliance with a favorable existing product. Further, the advertiser may intend to associate a certain meaning with a new product by pairing it with an existing brand. Thus understanding the mechanism behind Association theory is very helpful in developing successful co-branding strategies. One can explain this process of creating positive stimuli by co-branding strategy through classical conditioning. The most important aim of co-branding is through combination of two brands, in order to attract more customers and to maximise power and prestige that each brand has to offer. The partnership helps in opening up new markets and marketing opportunities. Co-branding is a good way to...
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