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McSwift Final Paper

Page history last edited by edwardsmoss@umail.ucsb.edu 7 years, 6 months ago

Edward Moss

Alan Liu

English 149

15 December 2014

The McSwift Team Project

The McSwift project team took a corporation and an individual and compared both of their marketing techniques and how they brand themselves both in the US and internationally. The project was designed to look at language used in the marketing processes as well as the people reached through the campaigns. It analyzed marketing strategies over time and how the results vary as time goes on depending on how popular the corporation or the person is at the time of the marketing. While it may not be difficult to guess which corporation and which individual the group looked at by the name of the project team, the group analyzed McDonald’s and Taylor Swift to see the differences in how a corporation markets to its audience versus an individual “star” to her own. The results determined that a corporation markets to groups of people much more than individuals and it is much less personal and more interested in the product, while the individual markets herself as a “personality” as an important component of marketing her product.

The McSwift team’s hypothesis was that the marketing of an individual relies more heavily on making a personal connection with the audience, whereas a massive company’s marketing success depends largely on its ability to connect with a target audience as a whole. The results proved conclusive that indeed a corporation does market more to groups of people while the individual markets to her fans on a much more personal level. The individual interacts more with fans/consumers as she generates buzz on social media and through her interviews and marketing campaigns. While both McDonald’s and Taylor Swift are extremely successful in their own ways, they market differently, as made evident through historical research of interaction with fans/consumers on social media and through advertisements and other marketing campaigns.

The project called for students to use research tools in order to explore a work or part of a literary work. After exploring many of these tools in the class, the teams were given free range to search for new tools to use for whatever their project called for. The terms of the project were also very broad, giving students the opportunity to create their own project from their own interests. The McSwift team showed excitement towards marketing from the beginning and wanted to focus its project on the language used in marketing and how it has changed over a certain period of time. After conducting research into how to create a project of this sort, the team decided that it would not be able to create a project to analyze the language of marketing in general, especially in such a short amount of time with only four team members. To do a project of that sort would need a tool that could narrow down all marketing language over a certain amount of time, a task much too large for a project that would only have four weeks to create, especially without an existing tool to do so. The team then decided to narrow down its interests by choosing specific groups to look at marketing techniques and it chose McDonald’s and Taylor Swift.

McDonald’s is one of the largest corporations in the world. With 34,480 restaurants in 119 countries, it has an impact in many cultures worldwide and almost everyone in the world has heard of the famous restaurant chain. Taylor Swift is one of the most influential personalities in the world right now. With her recent release of her fifth studio album, 1989, the country-turned-pop superstar has an enormous market worldwide, made evident by the 1.287 million copies of her album she sold in its first week available and her 48.2 million followers on twitter. She is well known for interacting with her fans on social media and having very successful marketing campaigns through social media, sponsorships, and advertisements. With one of the largest corporations in the world and one of the most famous personalities in the world, the group decided to focus its project on the marketing strategies of each through the language and interaction on both social media and through marketing campaigns. They provided examples of a corporation and a singular person to compare and contrast these strategies, while they also provided examples of how both change how they market over from the past to the present.

The team began its search by researching articles on how both McDonald’s and Taylor Swift market their most recent products, these being the current items on the McDonald’s menu including McCafe, the Big Mac, and Chicken McNuggets, while for Swift it is her new album, 1989. The articles included information on how both are marketed in the US and abroad, with some different strategies for specific nations and some very similar if not exactly the same other than translation. For Taylor Swift, the team found a lot of information about how she began as a country artist starting off in Nashville as Big Machine Records’ first artist. The articles went into detail of what sponsorships Swift had during each album promotion and how she has grown in her marketing power over the years with each new album. She is one of the most influential personalities in the world because of the impact she has on people who wear the clothes she sponsors, drink the drinks she sponsors, and agree with her ideologies, such as standing up for women’s rights.

The team found a lot of information about McDonald’s and its growth from its creation by the McDonald’s brothers in 1940 in San Bernardino, California to its sale to Ray Kroc in 1961 and his expansion of the corporation. The corporation has been around much longer than Swift has been alive and thus it has tried many more marketing strategies. Some examples are the first appearance of Ronald McDonald at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in 1966, the introduction of the Big Mac in 1968, and the historic Golden Arches first being put on display in 1969. McDonald’s has grown immensely over the years in both the US and around the world with menu changes, differences in appearance, and acclimation to different cultures’ wants in foreign countries. But with so many marketing campaigns over the years and in so many different countries, it was still difficult to determine what to analyze and how to look deeper into each campaign.

With the articles in mind, the team then began to run more data analysis to see what information they could find behind tweets from both McDonald’s and Taylor Swift. The team used two tools called netylytic and umigon to look at tweets from McDonald’s and general data search for Swift. Netylytic is a tool where a researcher can enter a key word, hashtag, or user name into a search bar and see how much the term has been used and how positive or negative the uses of the terms are. For McDonald’s the team researched @mcdonald’s, “McCafe,” and “I’m Lovin’ It” and the results found were fairly inconclusive. All three showed both positive and negative results towards the corporation and the campaigns, with promotion from the user. The results did show a lack of personal connection between the user and its followers, while the followers would react to their experiences at McDonald’s with their opinions towards certain menu items in both positive and negative fashions. Umigon only looks at the 900 most recent twitter posts with a certain hashtag or user so the team did not find it as useful but it gave an idea of people’s reactions on twitter at the current time. Netylytic, on the other hand, would create data results over a set period of time and could be left to continue searching for an unlimited amount of time.

In Taylor Swift’s case, the team analyzed her interaction on social media on twitter, tumblr, her own website, YouTube, and Facebook. It is evident through her posts that she herself does most of her own social media marketing instead of having a team do it for her. She interacts with fans, whom she calls “Swifties” on twitter with hashtags such as #taylurking, encouraging fans to take pictures of themselves with her 1989 album cover. Swift created a tumblr in order to interact with fans on another form of social media and an example the group found amusing was the picture she posted of herself wearing a shirt saying “no it’s becky,” which references an older popular tumblr meme which uses an old picture of Swift. Swift would connect the two forms of social media at times to further grow her followers and way “Swifties” could connect with her.

The last tool that the McSwift team used was StoryMap, a tool where it was able to present its data in a clean, efficient way while using a map of the world to show different locations where certain marketing occurred. The StoryMap made it easy for the team to present its results while showing the impact both Swift and McDonald’s have worldwide. The StoryMap was used solely for the presentation of the project and not to research or collect data.

The results from these social media sources proved as the group expected. McDonald’s, the corporation with an enormous following, does not connect with fans personally and has difficulty adding a “human element” to its interaction. The sites provide information about new items on the menu, coupons for a buy one get one free order, or a new commercial that is airing on television. McDonald’s shows its products, but does not show any other motives besides expanding and bringing in more consumers. Followers respond with their thoughts on their meals and on certain items on the menu, but the results found that the interaction from McDonald’s on the other end was very minimal and that the majority of its posts are promotional. Taylor Swift, on the other hand, as a personality shows her followers more about her life and allows them to see who she is as a person, instead of just the product she produces. She interacts with fans by posting videos of herself, her reactions to fans’ posts, and pictures of herself in new cities. She promotes her sponsorships and her music, but in a way that the consumer wants to buy these products because Taylor Swift cares about the products as well as her fans. She connects personally with followers and encourages her “Swifties” to post pictures of themselves with her album and she will then retweet them for her 48 million followers. As a person of the younger generation that uses social media at all times, Swift shows her talent as a promoter of herself as well as her products, while McDonald’s does not give its followers a face to connect with while only working to increase its number of consumers.

The McSwift team also looked at how a corporation and an individual market to certain international audiences. Both McDonald’s and Swift connect with the foreign nations as best as they can in order to show the consumers that they care about their cultures while promoting their products. McDonald’s markets itself very similarly in other English speaking countries with the same commercials and marketing campaigns. The largest change in another English speaking country the team found was in Australia where the locals call the restaurant chain “Macca’s” and thus the corporation has begun creating signs with this alternative name on it instead of “McDonald’s.” At first glance it looks as if McDonald’s markets very similarly in all foreign countries. Many commercials are the same except with translation and the restaurants look very similar all over the world. McDonald’s also uses many of the same marketing campaigns all over the world such as “I’m Lovin’ It” and “McCafe,” both of which the team explored deeper. The results showed through sentiment analysis that the campaigns were very similar other than through translation in foreign nations.

Looking at a timeline of its marketing internationally, the worldwide corporation has realized that it must cater to foreign cultures needs in order to bring in more consumers. McDonald’s has altered its menus in many international locations. For example, customers can buy beer at a McDonald’s in Germany, a McBaguette in France, and a Rice Burger in Taiwan. By altering its menus to accommodate for many cultures, McDonald’s reaches more people and brings in more customers.

Taylor Swift has fans all over the world and she tries to connect with them as best as she can. The team’s research showed that her greatest form of connecting with international fans is on tour when she performs with a famous artist from the country she is in. When she was in the United Kingdom for her Red Tour she brought British artists such as Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, and Ellie Goulding on stage with her to perform. In Germany she had Sheeran come on stage to sing his song, “I See Fire,” with her as a duet because she knew his song was No. 1 on the German Charts at the time. She has also grown in worldwide popularity due to her transition from a country artist to a pop artist. Her popularity has grown immensely in Asia with the transition, as made evident with a growth in revenue from the Speak Now tour to her Redtour from 2.1 million dollars to 6.4 million dollars playing in countries such as Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia. She even entertained a limited edition Cornetto partnership for her Redtour in Southeast Asia. The brand created a new flavor for the “Red Taylor Swift Cornetto” and it was marketed heavily on buses, posters, and social media in the region.

The group also wanted to include a literary figure in its project and analyze his tactics for social media marketing. The McSwift team chose John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars and five other novels. Known for his promotions of his books as well as his other passions of his on his website and his twitter page, he was chosen for his current prowess in the social media marketing world. Green provides an example of an author who promotes both himself as a person as well as his works of literature. His blog, website, and twitter page allow him to interact with fans and give thoughts that more authors should do the same in order to promote their works and to give readers an opportunity to know more about the author himself.

With more time and tools the McSwift team would have hoped to be able to look at more corporations and individuals while also scanning for a larger time frame of marketing as a whole. The team would have been able to analyze more tweets and their significance on a social media front, as well as research marketing in many more countries. Without the tools available to look at marketing from a certain time period to present, the team decided to look at two specific examples in the present era and while being able to narrow down to specific marketing campaigns for both.

The McSwift Project team set out to look at differences and similarities between marketing strategies of a corporation versus an individual personality. The team’s hypothesis that an individual relies more on a personal connection in marketing while corporations are more faceless and market their product while viewing the group of consumers as a whole instead of individuals. Taylor Swift and McDonald’s provided strong examples to analyze for the project as both have large international impact and are very relevant to today’s world of marketing. They both show changes in marketing strategies over time and how they connect differently with fans/consumers. The McSwift project team is happy with its results and believes that its findings show that personal connections do make a difference and that companies will continue to trend its marketing plans towards more specific groups in both the US and abroad.

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