The Speed of Culture Podcast: The Intimacy of Data With Tariq Hassan

McDonald's USA chief marketing and customer experience officer on how to collect, keep and expand data to influence consumer culture

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In today’s digitally driven world, data has become a powerful tool for businesses to connect meaningfully with consumers. To understand more about how to collect, keep and expand data to influence consumer culture, we sat down with Tariq Hassan, chief marketing and customer experience officer at McDonald’s USA.

Hassan joins Suzy founder and CEO Matt Britton on the latest episode of The Speed of Culture podcast to dive deep into how the evolution of technology has changed his role as a marketer over time, how data actually allows marketers to leverage a more human approach, and how to create a relatable and meaningful brand. 

Hassan is a remarkable consumer marketing leader, driven by data and constantly seeking new ways to transform the industry. His rare combination of general management skills and operational expertise enables him to excel in diverse categories. With two decades of experience in world-class brand building, Hassan has worked with global brands including PepsiCo, Gatorade, GM, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, HP, Mercedes and Emirates Airlines.

His proven track record for achieving outstanding results stems from his ability to lead collaborative teams that anticipate and exceed the needs of consumers, resulting in year-over-year growth in the market.

Find out more about McDonald’s data approach to adapting to consumer needs and building stronger customer relationships by listening to the episode, and check out the key takeaways below:

Key takeaways:

  • 05:16 – 09:52 – Data Is a Form of Currency – The role of a marketer has been shaped over time by external changes, particularly technological advancements. Although the fundamental theories remain relevant, advancements in data processing, accuracy and measurement make the application of these principles more effective. By integrating data with consumer insights, sociological inputs and other soft and hard data elements, marketers can establish more meaningful relationships with their customers.
  • 09:52 – 12:36 – Adapting to the Changing Needs of Consumers – As the needs of consumers constantly evolve, marketers must invest more time in understanding their desires and interests, and analyzing data that is closely linked to their needs. In addition, they must also embrace softer elements by fostering positive relationships with customers. By doing so, marketers can ensure they keep up with the changing market trends and customer demands while building long-term relationships with their customers.
  • 12:36 – 18:26 – The Four Pillars of McDonald’s Approach to Customer Connection – McDonald’s core objective is to attract, engage and retain customers by fostering a strong brand-consumer relationship. McDonald’s aims to become a cultural icon not by just participating in culture, but helping to shape it. Hassan is achieving that lofty goal through several key strategies: The first is shaping the way culture tastes—celebrating the food everyone knows and loves, and using cultural trends to inform menu innovation. Second, the company strives to fully engage with customers by immersing itself in their creative universe and connecting with them through their passions like music, art and fashion. Third, McDonald’s uses data insights to stay ahead of the curve and inform future marketing strategies that evolve with culture. Finally, McDonald’s emphasizes a fan-to-fan approach rather than a brand-to-fan.
  • 28:40 – 33:16 – Stay curious. – And don’t be afraid to fail.