Great brands are authentic, consistent, and differentiated. Once significant brand equity is established products can be successful in spite of themselves. Just look at McDonald’s.

Author Selena Maranjian wrote in the Motley Fool recently about a research study that described a new way to get your kids to eat their broccoli: “Wrap it in the golden arches packaging of McDonald’s. Sounds funny? Researchers presented several dozen children with a taste test, offering them various foods such as carrots, milk, and apple juice in both unmarked and McDonald’s-branded wrappers. As you might expect, the McDonald’s branded foods received uniformly higher marks,” she concludes.

“Think about what this means. It shows how powerful brands can be in our minds. A mere brand label can affect how we perceive something. According to the study, the children’s perception of taste was physically altered by the branding,” says Maranjian.

This brand power is the reward that McDonald’s gets for decades of messaging about their products. The parents of today’s children drank Ronald McDonald’s “Kool-Aid” for years themselves and are still drawn to the golden arches even when they would rather have a latte or some sushi. Like a powerful mating call, they bring their kids to McDonald’s and teach them the burger and fries ritual. And so it is handed down from one generation to another.

The McDonald’s brand is authentic—they know that they sell just burgers and fries and so does everyone else. And are they ever consistent—their food never gets any better. Differentiated? Well, they have Ronald and they have those tasty nuggets made of chicken parts.

They have the power of their brand.

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2007 All rights reserved.

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