DDB & Tribal Worldwide, Amsterdam

What can other companies and teams learn from the successes and failures of the way your product, service, or other experience influenced the financial prosperity of the business?: 

Fast-moving-consumer-goods with many competitors face the challenge of low consumer involvement.

McDonald’s The Netherlands approached DDB & Tribal with the question if we could improve their existing app to serve their business needs better in a way that would directly enthuse the end-consumer, driving brand preference and sales.

Main objectives:

  • Increase frequency of visits to restaurants
  • Create transparency over product quality
  • Improve customer relations


User Centered Design process / experience strategy

From these mainly business-focused needs, we started up an experience strategy process to ensure our solution would be mainly user-focussed, in order to achieve early (and massive) adoption of the app. What exactly did the existing app need, to be downloaded and used actively by McDonald’s customers? Tapping into the right mind states of users and filling in their needs would be crucial to become successful.

In our user research we learnt that:

  1. For young adults money is mostly tight, so implementing mobile couponing could be a good incentive for user adoption of the app.
  2. Young families are mostly more health aware, they need transparency over nutritional value.
  3. Young families are receptive for combined offerings / combi-deals.
  4. Coffee drinkers are receptive for breakfast / coffee offerings in the morning. We need to ensure we push offerings also based on time of day.
  5. Discounts in restaurants often concern products or combined products that do not match the personal taste of consumers and are therefore often disregarded. Personalisation of mobile coupons could be a way to attract new and existing customers to the restaurants.

Improving the experience of the existing app

In the design process we have improved the usability of the existing restaurant finder, and designed a more in depth restaurant detail page. We enhanced the view on latest news and promotions and made clear decisions on what the ‘home page’ should and should not display. We added information on the nutritional value of products or combined products on a tray.

Adding personalised discounts through couponing

We did not just improve the existing functionalities, we also added functionality in order to allow users to ‘favorite’ any product they like, resulting in a better understanding of their personal preferences. Plus, we added discounts in the form of digital coupons, easily detected in an in-app coupon tray. Coupons are not only personalised on the basis of ‘favorite’ products, they are further targeted based on information like the user’s birthday and whether they are vegetarian or not. Relevance of offered coupons is not just personalised, they are also based on time of day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, late-night), the weather conditions, and the location of the user.

On launch we learnt that the relevance of product offerings / coupons was effective. Not ‘simply’ pushing standard coupons, but truly ‘personalising +’ coupons resulted in:

  • an increase frequency of visits to restaurants and
  • an increase in revenue

Please explain how the economic impact of your product, service, or other experience was measured and, if possible, provide specific numbers.: 

Results of these changes/driving business

Within 1 week the app was downloaded/updated a million times (as a reference, the Dutch population counts nearly 17 million citizens), immediately promoting to nr.1 in the Apple App store and in Google Play.

But, what really matters, it brought consumers to the restaurants:

  • 2,1% of all McDonald’s customers, over a period of 5 weeks, used at least 1 mobile coupon.
  • 2% of the revenue in this period is related to payments with mobile coupons.
  • 0,7% of the additional revenue in this period is related to mobile coupons.
  • 47% increase on ‘tray value’ / upsells for customers using mobile coupons

The results are measured by using built-in-app measuring tools, focused on reach and measuring redemption. A connected and tailored CRM programme offers MCDonald’s the opportunity to personalise coupons and communicate with their customers. (The effect on turnover and revenue is measured and shared by our client.)

Also after launch, every new release of coupons leads to increased sales results.

Not just an app: happy customers + powerful marketing/sales tool

The new McDonald’s Netherlands mobile app is not just a mobile app, it’s a successful marketing tool that offers McDonald’s unique and personal customer service and sales opportunities.



How did you originally establish and generate buy-in for the business value of designing and implementing your product, service, or other experience, and how did its actual performance coincide with or differ from predictions?: 

McDonald’s The Netherlands briefed DDB & Tribal on improving their existing app to serve their business needs better in a way that would directly enthuse the end-consumer, driving brand preference and sales.

The app coincides with McDonald’s carefully regulated marketing calendar. We designed all content to be flexible and customisable to an extent, so that all external communication from McDonald’s to her consumers is aligned. This established buy-in on client’s level, but also on consumer’s level. The performance of the app is measured independently, but it has become a core part of the service of McDonald’s to her consumers. In general, it has taught us that any new service offering should not be seen as standalone, but instead, be an extension of the brand’s core strategy. This ensures a clear message to your consumers which results in the McDonald’s brand’s adoption and likeability.

Although no hard target was set, the improvements and added functionality proved to be a successful business driver. Personalised mobile couponing has been adopted by a large number of customers and is here to stay. In the upcoming year extended personalised functionality can be expected. At DDB & Tribal Amsterdam we’re working designing a loyalty programme to be implemented in the app.

How has the success of your product, service, or other experience in creating business value affected your company’s experience strategy, project/product initiatives, and other plans?: 

The app has become a core part of the offering of McDonald’s and is adopted as a new “channel” of communication. The unique possibilities of mobile devices and tailored marketing has proven that the app is worth it’s investment. We are currently in the process of extending the app’s functionalities to make it an even richer and more tailored experience. McDonald’s Netherlands is starting to understand the endless possibilities this new channel gives them and slowly, but surely, their strategy is moving from a static, broadcast strategy, to a personal, consumer-focused strategy, with the app at the center.

At DDB & Tribal this case has once again confirmed that working on projects at the core of our clients marketing and communication offering is an exciting field of work. We will continue to strive for designing (mobile) projects that truly help our clients to engage with their customers in a meaningful and personalised way, driving NPS and sales.