Intelligently Extending Your Brand

Fast-food behemoth McDonald’s recently released a new item – dubbed Fish McBites – and it has been noted that they did not spark sales. Really? That’s a surprised? No one lined up for Fish McBites? No one in the entire company thought this might be a bad idea?

Meanwhile, as Chick-Fil-A, In-n-Out Burger and Krispy Kreme roll out their brands, people line up – some for days in advance of the stores opening. What is the difference? In a word, it is probably focus. The latter examples, for the most part, focus on their core businesses. It could be argued that Chick-Fil-A is getting close to expanding too far out of their comfort zone. If you have been to the Dwarf House, which actually predated the fast-food version of their stores, then you probably know what I mean. They would probably be better to get rid of some of their products rather than continuing to expand the lineup.

McDonald’s is probably no different.

In this case, however, I don’t think that the problem is that they offered fish nuggets, it is probably the branding of the product. After all, it could be widely regarded that the Chicken McNugget is one of their more successful offerings – despite the fact that McDonald’s is a burger joint. It’s not like it’s a McChicken Nugget, however, so why the name change?

Why not just call it a Fish McNugget? You could have a whole line of McNuggets and focus on that. Bring on the McRib McNugget even – that baby would fly out the doors (and Flo could be the spokesperson, since we now have the proverbial pigs flying, right?). Of course you would have to offer the Beef McNugget too.

And this leads to the obvious question of why McDonald’s really feels the need to go all upscale in the first place? Recently stores in the area have been remodeling, which is nice, but really? Many underwent an interior renovation when the offered the McCafe line of drinks – which may or may not have been an improvement. The higher end of burgers may be good for some, but probably doesn’t help the bottom line much. And the original remodeling, to bring cook-to-order food, was the start of the problem. Having food cooked and ready to go was a whole lot faster, and there sure were a lot of people buying it. If you want a fancy burger, go somewhere else. We’re talking fast food here, people.

The problem is ultimately that McDonald’s seems to be chasing the next big thing rather than focusing on what got them there in the first place. Sure, they are a large company now. But perhaps the focus on the original quality and what people enjoyed in the first place might just help them if they were to focus on it.