“Research is like motorway lights, it can’t tell you where to go but it can reduce the risk in how you get there” (David Newberry 2015).
For a business to run successfully one needs to know all about the potential and existing consumers and have a good idea about the market place you operate in. To have all this data in place, a systematic market research is a must.
Market research is crucial for accomplishments, such as new product development and for delivering the insight needed to give confidence and direction for big marketing decisions.
Sometimes for a company to develop its brand image and brand awareness it is important that companies engage with their consumers at cultural level too. With globalization, it is important that companies understand their cultural atmosphere in different environments and bring about changes in their business strategy, functioning and brand awareness to adapt to their cultural difference. These changes can be best understood by exemplifying USA’s biggest food giant “McDonalds” establishments in Australia and India.
Done their Homework: One of the reasons of the success of McDonald’s in both the countries is the excellent market-research. Marketing research is an ever-going process that helps marketers analyse the marketing environment and define the product-market fit and marketing strategies (Kotler & Keller 2012). Accurate research is crucial in generating the right mix to win customer loyalty. McDonalds through their market research sensed the need to involve the local culture and not isolate a particular section of the society (Iacobucci 2013). They identified the consumer needs and successfully absorbed itself in both societies in a way that it was no longer thought of as an American brand.
In Australia, television commercials successfully gave McDonalds an Australian make-over. They started off by giving McDonalds an Australian nickname “Macca’s” and promoted that image through television commercials. “100% Aussie burger”, “Brekkie Wraps”, “Macca’s Steak” are some of their ways of reflecting a local Aussie image (McDonald’s Australia 2016). Macca’s introduced “Create your taste” menu, where costumers could create their boutique own burgers which seemed to kick off well even for those who were on a look out for healthier fast food options (Eli Greenblat 2015).
McDonald’s chief marketing officer (US headquarters) spoke about McDonald’s customer centric transformation and stated,
“We are listening more and assuming less, asking questions and getting answers.” (Jessica DeVlieger 2016).
With over 900 stores in Australia and over a million customers visiting in a day, the Australian Macca’s is in a good standpoint to undertake the necessary market research that is necessary to comprehend the changing consumer needs and make appropriate changes in the delivery of products (Eli Greenblat 2015).
When looking at India, a multicultural country, McDonalds faced quite a big challenge. Cultural restrictions on certain meat like Beef (cow is considered sacred and is worshipped) and pork (Muslims do not eat pork) along with the fact that majority of Indians were vegetarians, made it a challenge for McDonalds to introduce Cheeseburgers (Beef) to the public. Their most reputed and top selling product in western countries couldn’t give them the same spot on the Indian market. McDonalds seemed to have done their research well and accepted the challenge by creating a wide range of socially acceptable products for the Indian public. For the vegetarian consumers “McAloo tikki”(deep fried spicy potato patty), the veg pops an alternative for chicken nuggets (McDonalds India 2014-15; Nandini 2014) and for their Non-vegetarian chicken lovers BigMac was replaced by “Chicken Maharaja Burger” along with an increase in their chicken and fish options (McDonalds India 2014-15). McDonalds in their research considered local demographics, income level and customer preferences which was key reason for it achieve success in a multi-cultural country.
One of the reasons of McDonald’s success globally is their well-defined market research along with creating innovative ways of merging with the local image and delivering what the brand promises their consumers. It is one of the most recognisable brand among all age groups because of its brand image.
Today, McDonalds has around 400 outlets in India(McDonalds India 2014-15) and around 930 outlets in Australia (McDonald’s Australia 2016). For a fast food industry to flourish especially in the present times when health and fitness awareness is at a rise, it is important to undergo changes that matches the changing consumer needs. The success of McDonalds in these countries and as well as globally was possible due to systematic market research which positioned them as a leader in fast food industry.
David Newberry 2015, Marketing Undressed, First edn, vol. 1.
Eli Greenblat 2015, McDonald’s bounces back with ‘create your taste’ pitch, The Weekend Australian, retrieved 17/04/2016, <http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/companies/mcdonalds-bounces-back-with-create-your-taste-pitch/news-story/135f7202b2384c8a2eefc6bc2de2bddc>.
Iacobucci, D 2013, MM4, Mason, Ohio : South-Western ; Andover : Cengage Learning [distributor], 
Student edition with package.
Jessica DeVlieger 2016, McChanges: The Customer-Centric Transformation of a Fast Food Icon, <https://www.cspace.com/blog/the-customer-centric-transformation-of-mcdonalds/>.
Kotler, P & Keller, KL 2012, Marketing management, Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Prentice Hall, c2012.14th ed.
McDonald’s Australia 2016, McDonald’s to Macca’s: A Great Aussie Road Trip, retrieved 17/04/2016, <https://mcdonalds.com.au/maccas-journey>.
McDonalds India 2014-15, retrieved 17/04/2016, <http://www.mcdonaldsindia.net/key-milestones.aspx>.
Nandini, AS 2014, ‘McDonald’s Success Story in India’, Journal of Contemporary Research in Management, vol. 9, no. 3, p. 21.
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