By Maelle Alquezar
McDonalds is thriving and keeps expanding across the globe. What’s McDonalds’ secret recipe? There are two main reasons behind its success: its business model and its ability to adapt and innovate. Indeed, the company leaves nothing to chance and make sure to be keep themselves informed of new trends, when they’re not providing the innovations themselves.
For the past few years, Mc Donald’s has introduced new products to its menu. While some have been adapted to the local culture, others are just a way to restore its corporate image. Indeed, Mc Donald’s has been criticised for years because of its unhealthy food. So the company has counterattacked and introduced healthier, more natural products such as salads and fruit. Among its different restaurants worldwide, we can find almost everywhere the so-called Big Mac. India is probably one of the only countries where it is not represented since Indian customers don’t eat beef. However, the company has adapted the products to the Indian culture – as it does in every country: you will find chicken, fish and veggie burgers instead in addition to spicy meals.
In Thailand, you can also find a Samurai Pork burger which is very unusual for British people since we cannot find any pork products in our Mc Donald’s restaurants. In New Zealand, you can eat a Mc Muffin or some specialties made of kiwi. These examples demonstrate how the global brand has adapted its products to the locals’ tastes. But the company also adapt to the local habits: while you can hardly find a double or triple Big Mac in European countries, you won’t have any problems finding them in the United States, Canada or in Thailand.
Along with its products, Mc Donald’s has also adapted and trancreated its slogan and even the name of its burgers. The famous “I’m lovin’ it” has crossed almost every border. In some countries, the message remains the same even if English is not the official language, others has kept the same message but added translation for several languages while some countries has just translated it such as in Quebec (i.e. “C’est ça que j’m”). But above all, we wonder how Mc Donald’s has created a successful slogan which is grammatically incorrect. Indeed, English speakers don’t usually use the verb “love” as a gerund since it would mean that they are infatuated for a determined period. However, a lot of us don’t even think about it, it is like it has become common.
Regarding the burgers’ names, there are also some differences between countries. Take the example of the quarter pounder: in Spain the name is just translated (cuarto de libra), in Quebec it is also translated but a bit modified since it uses a third instead of a quarter (tiers de livre) but some countries has just completely changed the name without even translating them in their own languages. That’s the case of the Italian and the French versions which give them the name of Royal (Cheeseburger Royal in Italy and Royal Cheese in France).
Originally red, the colour of the brand has also changed depending on the countries. While the colour remains red in almost every English-speaking country, it has been modified and adapted to several cultures. In several European countries (such as Spain, Switzerland and Italy), the image has become green as soon as the company has started to promote fresher and healthier products. Indeed, green is synonymous with ecology which has become a priority in these countries.
On the other hand, the Thai slogan is white, while the Japanese is brown. The design of their websites is also different in every country, not only the colour but also the style. However, the design is quite the same when the countries’ cultures are similar: in southern European countries they all have the green logo but also a white background while several English-speaking countries have a small red menu on the left.
Mc Donald’s has set up a winning strategy which consists of adapting each product and marketing campaign to the culture of the country. They are completely aware of the importance of adaptation, transcreation and innovation. This is the key to their exporting success.
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