McDonald’s CEO: ‘Our brand is in the strongest position it’s been in years’

CEO Chris Kempczinski has praised the role of marketing in boosting McDonald’s brand strength.

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McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski has credited marketing’s role in driving the business, telling investors the brand’s strength is “attributable in part to our best in class marketing machine”.

“Our brand is clearly in the strongest position it’s been in years,” he told investors today (31 January), as the business reported its 2022 fourth quarter and full-year results.

McDonald’s comparable sales grew 12.6% in the last three months of 2022, with revenue for this period reaching $5.93bn (£4.2bn). Meanwhile, full-year comparable sales grew by 10.9%, with yearly revenue coming in at $23.2bn (£20.4bn).

Earlier this month, McDonald’s released its ‘Fancy a McDonalds? #Raiseyourarches’ campaign in the UK. Kempczinski emphasised the importance of the campaign, as said it has “generated significant excitement” among McDonald’s customers.

We’ve unlocked even more ways to elevate our marketing through creative excellence.

Chris Kempczinski, McDonald’s

“Even though the campaign never shows our food, never shows our restaurants and never mentions our brand name, it’s nonetheless instantly recognisable as only McDonald’s,” he explained. “Imagine that, a brand is so powerful it requires no introduction.”

The campaign has been “quickly picked up by over 30 markets”, Kempczinski added, praising the business’s “ability to quickly scale compelling ideas across the globe”.

McDonald’s achieves ‘exceptional’ branding score with eyebrow raising adEarlier this month, McDonald’s said it was planning to “elevate” its marketing through an investment in “creative excellence” as part of a brand revamp, with its new ‘Accelerating the Arches 2.0’ strategy.

“In the last year, we’ve unlocked even more ways to elevate our marketing through creative excellence,” Kempczinski said today, noting how the brand is applying key “scalable insights” to help create “culturally relevant campaigns that resonate across markets and drive growth”.

Leaning into the brand

McDonald’s has been upping its focus on loyalty in recent years, helping it accrue more than 50 million “active” loyalty users in its top six markets since launching in the US in 2021. The loyalty programme has now been extended to more then 50 markets.

McDonald’s rolls out loyalty scheme across the UK

During Q4 2022, digital represented more than 35% of system wide sales for the business.

Kempczinski also noted the importance of the McCrispy Chicken Sandwich in the UK, which launched late last year and has driven a “meaningful life to the chicken category”.

“The UK market also leaned into the power of our brand, with the popular ‘Reindeer Ready’ holiday campaign returning for the sixth consecutive year,” he added.

It’s a “coming together” moment for the brand, suggested Kempczinski, who said McDonald’s has “upped” its game in terms of its “marketing, creativity and execution”.

“Our focus as we head into 2023 is really on making sure that each and every time consumers choose to come into one of our restaurants, we deliver them a great experience and continue to ensure that we earned those visits each and every time,” he added.

However, he also noted the ongoing impact of economic headwinds and global inflation, particularly in Europe, which he doesn’t expect to ease until later in the year.