UK McDonald’s Invites Customers To Make Up Their Own Minds

UK McDonald’s Invites Customers To Make Up Their Own Minds

Make Up Your Own MindEven for someone who is privileged enough to have some pretty remarkable work weeks, this one stands out. I began the week as a panelist at an event featuring a presentation from Jennifer James of GfK Roper and with fellow panelists Gabby Nelson of Select Comfort and Jennifer Sparks of the Society of American Florists. The Roper presentation centered on the changing trends in attitude and behavior of the American consumer. The Roper presentation contained a lot of great information on the 2008 search for leadership in an increasingly uncertain world and the assembled group had lots of great questions following.

One of Jennifer’s examples of brands allowing consumer to educate each other was new to me. McDonald’s in the UK has an innovative site called Make Up Your Own Mind. From the home page: “The site has been set up for you to find out anything you would like to know about McDonald’s food, business, people and practices“. Customers are invited to submit questions (15,000 to date) and then other customers are invited to serve as reporters/quality scouts to share their findings with the world through the site. They report on everything from the cleanliness of the restaurants to conditions at the farms where ingredients are being raised & grown. The image I included above is from a part of the site that directly addresses the Happy Meal. Charlotte, a teacher and “Mum”, is featured in a video where she investigates how chicken McNuggets are made and confirms they are made with the same quality breast meat as what she could find in the supermarket. The site also frankly discussed the nutrition content as compared to other options for children. The questions appear to be completely uncensored and this transparency certainly makes me think about McDonald’s brand a little differently.

The interesting thing to note is that McDonald’s hasn’t actually changed (or doesn’t claim to have changed) anything about its organization, practices or food. It has just proved that they are willing to share what they are doing and be open to examination. French Fries are still bad for you (if you hadn’t gotten the memo), but if McDonald’s lets you in on how they are made and what the comparative nutritional choices on the menu are, then isn’t it your fault for putting on those extra 10 lbs? By inviting customers to experience the inner workings of the brand, have conversations, and building a platform for them to take place, McDonald’s has diffused our ability to criticize the wizard behind the screen by bringing us face to face with him. Maybe this is the type of effort that Starbucks should be looking into now – reminding the world of their extraordinary business practices – instead of asking us to hatch up the next latte drink or granting us Free WiFi about 3 years too late over at My Starbucks Idea.

One Reply to “UK McDonald’s Invites Customers To Make Up Their Own Minds”

  1. Lewis Green had an interesting post a few days back on marketing profs
    where he wrote
    “After lunch, I presented on Traditional vs. Social Media: Which Work Best for Promoting Your Ideas? About 10 minutes into my presentation, someone raised their hand to ask a question (I thought). But to my surprise, she had no question. Instead, she said: Your presentation is really good. But we already know we have to embrace Social Media. What we need to know is how.”

    I’d love to hear from Jennifer more on the ‘change agent’ question that many marketers in other orgs probably have…HOW did the culture at McDonalds UK change into one where they recognized that being transparent and open with customers was the best approach? Clearly, not every org is at this stage. That backstory would be fascinating.

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