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Wendy's and McDonald's: Marketing Executive

You are a marketing executive at a fast-food company and have been asked by your supervisor to evaluate the positioning of two of your major competitors, Wendy's and McDonald's. Wendy's has focused primarily on the adult market while McDonald's has fashioned an all-out pursuit of the kid's market (as evidenced by the numerous advertising tie-ins and toy giveaways). Please respond to the following questions:

1. Think about demographic and sociocultural trends and changes and explain how each organization's interpretation of these trends and changes has affected its choice of strategy.

2. Is their strategy affected by the amount of advertising they do on television and the internet?

3. Which organization do you think is currently positioned better and why?

4. What strategy would you recommend for your company based on recent trends and changes?

5. How can these strategies improve their image as a "corporate citizen" within the community?

Solution Preview

Please see the response attached (also below). I hope this helps and take care.

Hi,

Interesting scenario, indeed. Remember as you do these questions, that you are to imagine being in the position of marketing executive and have been asked by your supervisor to evaluate the positioning of two of your major competitors, Wendy's and McDonald's, in terms of the following questions. You won't focus so much on the fact that they are competitors, but instead let the questions guide your inquiry.

Let's take a look at these questions:

1. Think about demographic and socio-cultural trends and changes and explain how each organization's interpretation of these trends and changes has affected its choice of strategy.

This question is straightforward, and information will come from your research on Wendy's and McDonald's original positioning strategies and why they positioned themselves with the strategies that they did (i.e., what demographic and socio-cultural trends impacted or shaped their positioning strategy?).

In other words, you will be looking for demographics, and socio-historical trends that shaped the positioning strategy. Demographic trends are such things as location, age, income, etc. Socio-cultural trends (i.e., more Mom's working with less time to cook meals, etc.) and changes are such things as change in customer perception's (e.g., it is easier to pick up a hamburger after a long day's work than going home and making supper; perceptions that salads are healthy food choices, versus hamburgers; and lifestyles (i.e., socio-cultural trend of both parents working and a fast live pace prompted family focused positioning strategies for McDonald's: The target meaningful value of the McDonald's brand is this: "A break for Mom, Mom being appreciated by the family, and she appreciating the family having fun."). In other words, these demographic and socio-cultural trends affected McDonald's choice of positioning strategy (socio-cultural trend of an increase in working Mom's, so McDonald's developed a family focused positioning strategy). Let's look a bit closer at McDonald's positioning strategy:

McDonald's Experiential Brand Positioning:

So first, what is the McDonald's brand positioning? What is the meaning to the consumer of the McDonald's brand? The target meaningful value of the McDonald's brand is this: "A break for Mom, Mom being appreciated by the family, and she appreciating the family having fun." So the brand positioning is not about hamburgers. They are just part of the family fun experience but they are not part of that target experience. It's an experiential brand positioning.

The brand design question asks: "How do you express and communicate this targeted meaningful value? What words, looks, feel, pictures, and symbols can capture this meaning for the consumers?"

The Calder model's model for expressing a brand's underlying meaning distinguishes between: (1) verbal expressions via words and sounds, and (2) visual expressions through pictures and images that can be seen, touched or/and even sniffed.

So how has McDonald's brand equity management group "architectured" the verbal and visual expressions of its targeted brand positioning?

First, the verbalizing. This has three component strategies: naming, wording, describing.

In the case of McDonald's, naming included sub-brands like "McDonald's land," "PlayPlace," and "Happy Meal." The strategic intent is to provide consumers with "descriptive or figurative names" for the company and its products or services in order to reflect some of the corners and lines of the ...

Solution Summary

In reference to the scenario on Wendy's and McDonald's, this solution uses the company's demographic and sociocultural trends and changes and explains how each organization's interpretation of these trends and changes has affected its choice of strategy. It also explains if their strategy was affected by the amount of advertising they do on television and the internet and which organization is currently positioned better and why. It also recommends a strategy for the company based on recent trends and changes and how these strategies improve their image as a "corporate citizen" within the community. This solution is approximately 2000 words.

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