Influencer Marketing: McDonald’s Malaysia Marketing Director, Eugene Lee

Influencer Marketing: McDonald’s Malaysia Marketing Director, Eugene Lee

We all have our favourite influencers, we follow them on Instagram as they endorse various products. Kim Kardashian, for example, earns over $1 million dollars per Instagram post. That explains the sudden boom in influencers. It's currently a trendy marketing tactic that bridges together brands and consumers by engaging the most influential people in specific industries.

However, finding the best influencers for your brand isn't as easy as it sounds. You can select influencers which have the most followers but if their content is not targeted to the right audience or reach can shake a marketer's confidence. In this series, MARKETING speaks to McDonald's Malaysia Marketing Director, Eugene Lee on his thoughts on influencer marketing.

McDonald’s is a household name, and the Golden Arches is one of the most recognisable logos in the world. In fact, more people recognise the iconic Yellow “M” than the cross. This just goes to show how well McDonald’s has done branding itself and staying relevant with people across the globe.

Eugene Lee, Marketing Director McDonald's Malaysia

Eugene Lee has been with McDonald’s Malaysia for more than eight years and rose quickly from when he first joined as a marketing officer in 2009 to his role today as the marketing director. He is in charge of all marketing communications that customers experience and has been instrumental in the company’s recent shift from traditional advertising to a focus on digital media. He leads a lean team of eight marketers that carry out all promotions for McDonald’s Malaysia nationwide and is behind recent successes such as the Ayam Goreng McD relaunch, Spicy Korean Burger and everyone’s favourite, the D24 Durian McFlurry.

What are the challenges faced when it comes to selecting the right influencer?

When an influencer is used, the customer will associate the brand directly with that person. Therefore, it is crucial when it comes to influencer selection that the KOL used reflects the values of the brand. For McDonald’s, the influencer has to hold a wholesome image and not involved in extreme views/movements, or have too sexy/revealing an image on social media.

How do you measure the success of the campaign - with the KOL?

Engagement is one of the key measures of success. If a post by the influencer garners higher comments/likes versus their average post, it’s proof that the fans resonate with the content of the post, and the linkage between the KOL and the brand. As with any form of advertising, sales is also a key measure, along with campaign awareness figures.

The Ayam Goreng McD made its successful comeback thanks to the ad which absolutely no music or dialogue, but just the sounds of crunching fried chicken.

Do you believe the budget can be better spent elsewhere?

Malaysia, and especially the Malay audience, are very highly influenced by KOLs & Celebrities. Having an influencer endorse your product or brand can really elevate the customer’s perception, especially amongst the millennials who usually turn a deaf ear to direct advertising from companies. Therefore, influencers can play a key part in any media strategy to bring it reaches to a wider audience.

What do you think are areas that influencer marketing needs improvement on?

Influencer marketing needs to be genuine. Blatant product placement that comes off as unnatural can have adverse effects on both the brand as well as the influencer themselves. Customers are not stupid, and they can smell if something is planted or “fake” from a mile away. Therefore, with influencer marketing, honesty and genuine posts are key to success.


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