Creating a more human brand image: McDonald's social media strategy

Stephen Whiteside

McDonald's, the quick-service restaurant chain, is one of the few brands that truly polarises opinion. From discussions regarding obesity and using "pink slime" in hamburgers to debates on the minimum wage, its name is rarely far from the headlines, even though the evidence cited against the company is frequently inaccurate or entirely false.

"We kind of feel at times that we're a brand under siege," Heather Oldani, senior director, US communications, for McDonald's confessed to delegates at the Corporate Social Media Summit, held in New York in mid-2013. "We do get a lot of criticism."

This trend is particularly noticeable on social media. On average, Oldani revealed, between 3,000 and 5,000 conversations about McDonald's occur in this arena each day. These interactions are monitored by its in-house experts and analytics specialist Radian6, helping the restaurant group understand changing consumer sentiment and ascertain where a response is necessary.