The new McPR way

SimonCommunications, General

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.