How McDonald's arms brand ambassadors and builds trust

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A few years back, McDonald’s Corp. leaders were paging through customer feedback, and an executive grew exasperated with the myths people believe about the company.

Jori Lawson Hume, a manager in global internal communications with McDonald's, says someone spoke up and reminded the bosses, “How can we expect customers to know that about us when our own people don’t know that?”

That got the bigwigs thinking. Employees who weren’t well informed couldn’t address false rumors about the brand.

In the Ragan Training video, “How McDonald's arms brand ambassadors and builds trust,” Hume reveals how the company beefed up its employee communications and boosted its engagement through an improved intranet, gamification, and other means.

You’ll learn:

  • Why you should invest in internal communications
  • How readership skyrocketed after McDonald’s revamped its internal portal
  • Why you must educate your employees (they know less than you think about your organization)
  • What engagement can do for your brand

Every day McDonald’s serves nearly 70 million customers. It employs approximately 1.8 million people. “Think about how hard it is to communicate effectively to 1.8 million people, let alone aligning them, engaging them,” Hume says.

The company wanted everyone from burger-flippers to videographers to be able to answer when some guy at a party blurts out a question about your burgers. Employees are magnets for those with questions about the organization, and it was essential that staffers be able to answer the questions.

Ronald McDonald must have been crying in his milkshake over questions staffers hear from outsiders. You don’t want your employee answering, “They don’t tell me any more than they tell you.”

Hear how to cook up a new internal platform. McDonald’s dished up changes that caused readership to shoot up by 40 percent, then double again. Find out about the “Let’s Talk” feature, and why your staffers are hungry for information.

Hear about McDonald’s shock when it opened a channel for its employees to talk about nutrition. (No, those apple slices are not actually potatoes with apple flavoring. Nor is anybody sneaking sliced apples into the French fries.)

And learn lessons about educating your employees through gamification.The goal isn’t to cram everything about the company in one slide, but to offer McNuggets of information about your organization.

Success? McDonald’s thinks so. One employee posted, “This is great. I have one of those friends on Facebook that likes to post untrue articles about how McDonald's is so terrible. Before I would just ignore but thanks to ‘World of Good’ I can counter with the truth about our food and all we do for the community.”

February 2014

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Presenter bio: 

Jori Lawson Hume is a communications manager in global internal communications with the McDonald's Corporation.