Are we experiencing the end of the feel-good brand?
Lately you've probably read that McDonald's is in a lot of trouble.
Employees? Fed up with their pay.
All that and a current business strategy seems to be, "Let's throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks." On one hand, they know they aren't known for health food so they've made fun of kale in their commercials. On the other hand, kale is kind of in right now, so they are trying it on the menu in Southern California.
Then there's the idea to bring back the Hamburgler as a McDonald's-loving dad. Is THAT how they plan to get Millennials back in the store?
But is could be that McDonalds is really suffering from something that isn't so easy to fix.
When it comes to what people consume, for many of us, tastes of changing.
People want something unique.
They want something crafted with passion.
They want to choose healthy over economical whenever they can.
They want companies to have some sort of social value system in place that values communities and people.
The idea of mass-produced, less than healthy, all-about-the-bottom-line products just isn't as appealing. And it isn't just McDonalds.
Chains like Olive Garden and Red Lobster have seen sales slumps recently, as well.
Then there's Budweiser. In February, 2015, Budweiser did something that a lot of ad people would consider to be sacrilege. They acknowledged and attacked the competition.
And it wasn't Miller or Coors they went after. It was microbreweries.
Why would a behemoth of a brand like Budweiser go after a group of companies that, individually, are nothing compared to Anheuser Busch? Simple: They see them as a threat.
So, these shifts, what do they mean for brands?
If you define a "brand" from the standpoint of being the image that a consumer has about a company, brands will be in place as long as business is in place. Consumers will come up with a perception of a business with or without the help of that business.
But as far as brands that are image alone, it might be time for companies to beware.
In today's information age, consumers are more proficient than ever about calling out a company's B.S. and making informed decisions about what's good for them and their communities.
Consumers want to know what's real about your brand, and if what's real isn't really all that appealing, in today's world, dressing it all up in a catchy, feel-good ad might not necessarily do the trick.
It's time for companies to start thinking really hard about what's in it for the consumer.