With more than 35,000 locations in over 100 countries, the McDonald's brand serves more than 70 million customers a day. Still the leading global food service retailer, McDonald's is a household name throughout the world. Although its global sales are under pressure, the brand is working hard to respond to consumer demand for healthier, more nutritious meals-and continues to expand globally. Offering healthy alternatives to its classic menu, McDonald's has added smoothies, salads, and fresh fruit. Its Happy Meals are also more nutritious, with 95 percent providing fruits, vegetables, or low-fat dairy options. McDonald's is also addressing consumer concerns about health by including more nutrition information on its packaging. Continuing its strides forward in sustainability as well, the brand has ambitious goals to purchase verified sustainable beef in 2016 and 100 percent sustainable coffee, palm oil, and fish by 2020. (It is worth noting that its white fish sources are already 100 percent sustainable.)
High-profile sponsorships for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, backed up by strong games-related promotions, ads, and social media efforts, have helped McDonald's maintain awareness and connect consumers to the brand. For the first time in its history, the brand not only revamped its fries packaging in celebration of the World Cup, but also made the boxes an entry point for an augmented-reality game, accessible via the McDonald's GOL! app. This global marketing push brought positive attention to one of the brand's most popular menu items and showed that the brand knows how to harness shared passion to create engaging and interactive mobile experiences. The success of efforts like this hint at the tremendous opportunity McDonald's has to become essential in the lives of future generations. With Deborah Wahl stepping in as U.S. Chief Marketer, getting closer to customers and a commitment to evolving the brand already appear to be at the top of McDonald's agenda. Indeed, in what Adweek called a "McSoulSearch," the brand is devoting the next 18 months to rebranding itself as "not only a cheap food destination, but an appealing and high-quality one as well." As McDonald's continues to grow, keeping up with the world's demands for healthier food-and following through with its plans to use ethically sourced products-will ensure that it stays profitable as a top fast-food chain.