Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Baby Steps Into the Blogosphere: Bob Langert of McDonald’s just posted to his social responsibility blog on the subject of a new and “iconic way of putting nutritional information on our packaging,” which features “five key elements that will help customers more easily understand their choices at McDonald’s.” He goes on to tell us that “this is a watershed initiative because of its transparency.”

First of all, I want to applaud McDonald’s, which I think is trying to do the right thing, both by addressing the issue of dietary choice in a serious manner—applying the principle of informed consent—and by creating a blog, with comments and everything, and thus making itself more open.

Blogging about this is nice (although I could do without the company telling me how transparent it is) but it feels like a missed opportunity. Bob posts the new nutrition label and asks for our feedback. But imagine how interesting it would have been to use the blog to help customers and critics design the nutrition online. Now that would have been transparent.

The company could have posted several alternative designs, had internal champions—nutritionists and PR people and marketers—discuss the pros and cons of each one, and invited outsiders to explain what they found helpful and why. They could have allowed their customers into the discussion and the design process. They could have challenged their critics: “You say we are not sharing enough information; tell us what you think we should say.”

Not only would it have underscored their commitment to a new way of doing things; it would have generated massive, positive media coverage.

Blogging to tell people what you’re up to is a good start. But blogging that involves them in what you’re up to is the future of public relations.

2 Comments:

  • At 10:16 AM, Blogger Kami Huyse, APR said…

    These are good ideas for the future, but of course, McDonalds just started blogging and this new information has probably been in the works for a year or more. Still, it is a great idea for the next big thing. First, I think Bob will have to convince his bosses that this blogging is actually useful to the company, that will take awhile I imagine.

     
  • At 12:24 PM, Blogger Paul A. Holmes said…

    You're right of course, and I was trying to balance my encouragement of the whole blogging thing with my "wouldn't this have been really cool" enthusiasm. I'm certainly not criticizing Bob, who is finding his feet and his voice and I think will make a huge difference there over time.

     

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