Nick Hindle, McDonalds PR Chief, said at the PR and the Media conference that
"Clear messaging is delivered by people, not corporations. We need to inform and empower staff. They are the ones who talk about McDonalds on a daily basis. They are far more believable than a corporation."
He goes onto say:
"You don't manage your brand these days, you influence it... We should give staff the confidence they need - some will talk to the press, some will blog, some will talk to their mates down the pub. It requires a lot of bottle to give up control, but the upsides are significant."
This will be highly familiar to anyone who has read Naked Conversations; ( book, blog ) Basically, the premise is we're entering a new era when marketing won't be broadcast based ( i.e I, the brand, speak when I want to speak), but conversation led - that is, I the brand talk to you the consumer when you want to listen.
The point is that brand conversations are happening anyway; as a corporation, you can either try and control it ( no chance ) - or you join it, and you let your people speak.
Consumers / Candidates are incredibly savvy these days, and can smell didactic corporate-comms a mile off. So if you want to engage the two C's, what other choice have you got than to let your people talk? (Naked Conversations envisages a time when consumers will be distrustful of brands that dont have a staff voice.)
All of this is particularly important for recruitment,
of course. I'd bet my house that everyone who reads this blog has been
guilty at some point of producing recruitment marketing that had
precious little to do with the actual experience of the vast majority
of employees. That was possible when the method was broadcast (print
ads, brochures, web 1.0) and when those employees don't have a voice.
But employers trying to project a false / romanticised image in the era of blogs, myspace and twitter however are going to be in big trouble (and with good reason).
So well done to the McD people.. if you have the cajones to do it, then perhaps other employers (with less to lose, frankly) will follow suit.