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The small actions matter the most

News of McDonald’s outperforming Burger King is evidence that small, local, meaningful gestures define a reputation that leads to commercial success.

A lot about the success of McDonald’s can be attributed to its owner-operator model. The owners live among the customers they serve and are enabled and encouraged to use their marketing spend on local sports events and activities.

This is some distance from empty gestures out of corporate HQs professing their brand’s ‘values’.  Ordinary people, who make up the customer base, are unimpressed by such values until they experience them.

There are a couple of lessons for organisations genuinely wanting to build a local following:

  1. Ditch the statements, sponsorships and social causes that reflect the interests of your marketing teams and peers.  Ask your staff what matters to their communities, and find sponsorship opportunities where your brand can have a daily or weekly interaction with the community.

  2. Give the staff in your organisation the freedom to represent your company in their communities. They know how people act and speak in their communities, so there is no need to overprepare them with corporate messaging.

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