The new McPR way

SimonCommunications, General1 Comment

Just finished leafing through this week’s PR Week magazine (UK) – the front page lead on McDonald’s and its move to use staff as brand ambassadors caught my eye.

Simon Collister’s managed to beat me to it with his post on the same topic.

The gist of the story is that McDonald’s wants to position its people at the centre of its communications – because people make up a business, and people are more credible than corporates.

Simon reckons this is a risky strategy. He’s right, as handing over control (or more accurately the corporate perception of control) is a brave move.

It’s only the right move if you have confidence in the people in your organisation, and to do this having an effective internal communications and engagement programme has to be a prerequisite.

For McDonald’s I wonder if it’s one of few strategic PR options remaining, given the many challenges the brand faces from all around.

It’ll be interesting to see what the strategy means in practice. Nick Hindle, UK PR chief for McDonald’s, is quoted as saying

We should give staff the confidence they need – some will talk to the press, some will blog, others will talk to their mates down the pub.

Does this mean McDonald’s will be positively enabling and encouraging their people do become their PR machine, or does it mean that they won’t be as strict as in the past in trying to stop their people talking on behalf of the company?

It’ll be interesting to see.

One Comment on “The new McPR way”

  1. Several years ago, I had a student from McD on the CIPR Diploma course who was defensive and didn’t complete her studies. More recently, another McD PR person enrolled and was totally different. She was open with others who commented on the company, even engaged in reflection when we watched the McLibel video in class. I was very impressed and not surprised to hear that the company was making PR of higher strategic importance than previously when it had largely been considered less vital than marketing.

    With such a big concern it is difficult to change behaviour and perceptions, but I do believe that McD is genuinely trying. If they are brave enough to empower their employees – and maybe alter some preconceptions and challenge the urban myths – this could be an important example.

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