As the battle continues between the American fast food juggernauts, McDonald's and KFC, some interesting strategies are being employed by each brand in hope for enhanced market share. As the two giants have launched and counter-launched lunch time promotions that offer "lunch sets" or "combo meals" at 15 RMB (between the hours of 11AM and 3PM), the role of branding and the establishment of emotional and intangible perceptions about each brand is becoming more and more important. Over the past few months, close observers can see that the companies have taken two clearly distinct paths toward attempted differentiation. First, KFC has branded itself as not only the leader in high quality fast food chicken, but also a provider of tasty new meals & snacks that appear & rotate almost every quarter. McDonald's on the other hand has decided to focus on its traditional offerings with only slight variations, while it has begun to rely more on advertising to support and enhance the claims of its trademark hamburgers:
In the above, we first see an example of how McDonald's has specifically identified young males as the target audience for the Big Mac. With sound marcom fundamentals, this comedic, well focused ad seems to have been well received in the marketplace so far. On the other hand, KFC has become well known for diversity in their menu and always having something new to try. Though not always long lasting, the new dishes provide a level of excitement to China's young consumers - a service aspect that McDonald's has not yet seemed to capture nor attempted to achieve. It will remain to be seen how these strategic decisions play out, but for now the perception of KFC's superiority in terms of food quality, diversity, while maintaining equal or lower prices than McDonald's has allowed it to maintain its market leadership.