Organization Name: McDonalds
Industry: Fast food
Web References: McDonalds
Description of how social media is used for business performance:
Back in 2012, McDonalds has launched a social media based campaign, named “Our food. Your questions”. The “Financial Post” cited McDonalds site saying “We’ll answer any questions about our food — even the tough ones — then post a personal reply from McDonald’s Canada”. Since then, McDonalds tries its best to be more transparent, and answers questions religiously in various channels; its social media website, tweeter, and on a YouTube channel.
I would like to trace, the history of this “transparency campaign”, using McDonalds’ official documents from the social media and the company’s website, as well as other relevant sources. My goal is to extract the very strategic goal which is, in my opinion, not less than genius and admirable.
Let’s start in watching a short video from 2012, when McDonalds Canada started a new campaign, promising to answer every question about its food.
(You may watch it In English too)
This short and sweet video, was the opening shot for shower of endless questions and wonders about McDonalds beef, McNuggets, fries, and what not. Besides the campaign, let’s not forget the traditional food quality section in McDonalds website, that always full of FAQ, some of them answered decades ago, about suppliers, ingredients and so on. During my research, I have also encountered a very impressive document which seems to catch every small detail in McDonalds menu, and is changing daily.
Re the social media campaign, the YouTube channel started with a deep investigation of the McNugget under a microscope, take a look:
Speeding the gears, the company continues to produce many videos, in the US and the rest of the world too, and as for today the number of videos is 23 and counting. 2012 passed, and also 2013, the same mantra goes over and over – you ask, we answer. No intentions to hide anything… and customers actually cooperate.
Well then, McDonalds’s progress report for 2013 opened with the president statement: “We’re on a continuous journey to meet our national nutrition commitments and provide our guests with menu offerings and information to address their needs. Today, that means serving more nutrition-minded food and beverage menu items, providing customization options and a variety of portion sizes, and making nutrition information more accessible”.
McDonalds deepens its activity in social media and answers questions directly in Tweeter. The campaign shoes a great success, however launching of an Instagram campaign, leads not that pleasant pictures from angry people… together with positive fans shares.
McDonalds talks plans. The strategic goals for 2020 includes two “aspirational goals for good food: serving 100% more fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy or whole grain; and reduce salt/sodium, sugar, saturated fat or calories across the menu”.
However, a shocking video about not less than 19 ingredients on fries resonates in YouTube and other web locations… I must admit – I was actually unpleasantly surprised, never thought that fries need more than a potato and one type of oil…
But hey, to put some balance into the picture, they use real eggs!
Isn’t it a great introduction for an improved model of McFood?!
McDonalds is well aware of its image, and tries to restore it and get it into track by being consistent with the transparency and health messages. By this, we still consume McDonalds products pretty often, however we are probably getting ready towards 2020, with our considerable decisions and broader knowledge that McDonalds, as a fast food company, is doing and will keep doing a great job in keeping us knowledgeable about its menu.
Lessons for others:
- Do not be afraid. Be proud of your products
- Use the present to prepare the ground for the future
- Keep promises, but give yourself enough time for trial and error
- Be very planned and strong-willed, but still flexible to change routes along the way
- Let your customers to take ownership for their decisions, but on the same time give them a feeling of belonging
- Use social media wisely – give yourself the option to correct mistakes on the go, however do not quit from using it
Or in McDonalds words:
“Whether it’s engaging through our social channels, introducing new menu items or simply listening, responding to our customers’ needs is something we will always do. We want our customers to know they can count on McDonald’s to provide a variety of balanced, great-tasting, quality choices that fit their lifestyle”.
Submitted by: Socialmed_Ia – SMBP Student, University of Waterloo.
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