Reputation is the most valuable asset for every brand. McDonalds, the global fast food giant, has managed to maintain positive reputation despite a series of incidents that threaten to create big losses for the company.
SuperSize Me by Morgan Spurlock in 2004, the documentary that was nominated for multiple Oscars, was the biggest hit on the company. SuperSize Me suggested that eating only food from McDonald’s for a single month can bring death closer. However, this wasn’t the end of their problems. In 2011, they faced severe criticism because of ‘pink slime’, a paste made up of beef scraps. Shrek drinking glasses were also given a recall after being tainted with a toxic metal, leading to a $15 billon return.
Being in the light of selling food with low nutrition for several years, McDonald’s decided to take the social media route with they bought hashtags from Twitter to promote the use of fresh ingredients. The campaign was going to run for 24 hours under the hashtag #MeetTheFarmers. It worked initially before they decided to change it to #McDStories. Changing the hashtag turned out to be a disaster when a group of angry customers took over the hashtag and posted comments such as having food poisoning and finding fingernail in a BigMac.
Despite all these instances, McDonalds didn’t complain, and instead focused on marketing and reputation management. They re- branded themselves, gave out answers to each negative feedback one by one, added more nutritious choices to their menu, updated their ambience, included facilities like LCD’s and Wi-Fi, re-advertised on social media and told the world about the changes they’ve made. They even hired mom bloggers to create positive content for the company. Due to these efforts, their revenue has continued to rise by 13 percent per year. Here are some marketing take aways from McDonald’s success.
1. Control social media
By changing the hashtag, McDonalds gave an invitation to the angry customers to post anything beyond the current topic. However, they kept their heads cool and responded. This shows that answering negative feedback with a positive tone can reduce the extent of the damage.
2. Maintain your reputation
None of these negative PR events got attention for long. McDonalds was able to maintain its reputation by advertising on social media channels and hiring popular bloggers with a good community to create positive content that appeared at first pages of search engine results. Company Overview of Reputation.com, Inc. explains how reputation management works and how companies smaller than McDonalds can maintain their reputation online.
McDonalds revised their marketing and advertising strategy, and promoted their products and services again, which worked. There’s always room for revision after a strategy has been created. The best thing to do is keep analysing the results to find out what’s working. This will give a chance to identify any loop holes and whether any changes or additions are required.
McDonalds continues to expand their current operations, and their success will keep on providing valuable lessons for modern marketers.
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