#McDStories All Ears

FBatarse    November 18, 2015

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Organization Name: McDonalds

Industry: Fast Food

Name of Contact: N/A

Web Reference: Forbes, Mashable YouTube, SourceFed Youtube, MEMES, Jona SoundCloud

Social Media and Business Performance

McDonalds Corp. serves 68 million customers on a daily basis in 119 countries. The fast food giant is known for its Happy Meals, Big Mac’s and various breakfast options. Reaching out to customers via internet methods and social circles is the new way to keep in contact with your customers. Corporations have set up Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media forums/discussion boards. Keeping up with current treads the fast food giant needed feedback from its clients, what better way than to hashtag or tweet your experience?

McDonalds paid  Twitter (January 18, 2012) to be hosted on the front page of the site, advertising #McDStories for the online segment. Hoping feedback would propel the brand and re-enforce brand equity amongst the population, the campaign lasted a mere 2 hours before being taken down, due to online bashing of the brand. Although McDonalds had nothing but good intentions when they wanted their hashtag shared amongst the online community, it back-fired, big time! Take a look at this Forbes article.

Most successful brands run marketing campaigns that last well over 2 hours, this was different! The feedback the firm received about client experience, product exposure and product value were not exactly the sought after goal. Individuals posted comments that were offensive, racist, rude and unprofessional. Take a look at the video below:

One site (KnowYourMemes) stated: “Between the 20th and 24th, McDonald’s stock went down 3%, and on the 25th, Twitter Sentiment registered 68% of the tweets with the #McDStories hashtag were negative.

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Rick Wion who is the social media director had admitted on January 25, that the program failed within the first hour of launch. Integrated communications, brand management and public relations all had to be incorporated together as a unit to combat the defeat. News organizations internationally were quick to pick up on the social war, posting online articles, interviews, video blogs and polling surveys. This was one disaster that serves as a wake up call for corporations and firms seeking open feedback without proper moderators.

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The hashtag is still lingering around the social media world and very much alive, most recently on McDonald’s twitter page (as seen above). Some tags are positive while others still mock the food giant. Rick Wion also was interviewed about the hiccup, I managed to upload it below, take a peek.

Lessons for others

Firms are still experimenting with social media and product advocacy online. In researching this topic, 3 take aways are evident:

  1. Corporations need online moderators. Moderators can view/edit comments, limit user abilities to post on public pages and respond in a professional, timely manner. If you control the fire before it spreads, you can save the rest.
  2. All feedback is feedback! If customers complain about an issue, this can open the door to relationship building, keeping in mind the corporation actions/escalates the issue at hand. Companies pay 3rd party firms to collect this type of data, product advocacy review boards, brand equity polls and various other forms of data collection.
  3. Controlling interactions with public opinion is very important to maintain brand equity.

    Submitted By: Fadi Batarseh, University of Waterloo

To contact the author of this entry please email at: Fadi_Batarseh@Hotmail.com

 If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance.