Creative Lewisham blog

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A brave new world of customer engagement

October 18 2013 4:14 PM

As a marketer, every now and again you probably hear a variety of excuses from your company for not trying something new. Perhaps something along the lines of: “Nobody else in our industry is doing this kind of marketing, so why should we?” 

Well, I’m here to suggest that your industry doesn’t matter.

The thing is that in an interconnected world, there’s a lot more than just the marketing tactics of your competitors that impacts your customers.

Take McDonald’s Canada: ‘Our food. Your questions’ programme, which invites any Canadian to ask any question about McDonald’s food on a dedicated website:

It doesn’t matter that you’re not working for a fast food company because what the Golden Arches are embracing could be the start of a cultural change that impacts every business.

So what is it about?

McDonald’s understood that there was a huge amount of chatter about their food. They couldn’t respond to it all individually (through the call centre or emails). So they built a one-stop information shop.

The ‘Our food. Your questions.’ programme launched in June. To ask McDonald’s a question, participants must connect to either Twitter or Facebook - which is the clever bit, providing social visibility and the ‘ripple in the pond’ effect.

More than 16,000 questions have been asked. 10,000 have been answered.

And more than 31 million questions have been read (by ‘following’ a question and being notified when it has been answered).

And there’s no dodging the tough questions…

So what did McDonald’s do so well?

  • A truly customer-focused idea
  • Promoted information instead of the company itself
  • Made information a spectator sport
  • Marketed their marketing (McDonald’s put a lot of money into promoting the programme, offline, too)

McDonalds have been brave. They have developed a fantastic, new and dynamic way of engaging with their customers – and in doing so they will be changing the expectations of YOUR customers.

So it is wise to learn about new and innovative marketing techniques being ‘applied’ in industries outside of your own. They may well start influencing your approach to engaging with your customers.

Comment Permalink



October 22 2013 3:01 PM

As well as being open and honest by (mostly) answering the questions, this is a great way of myth busting. I’m a little disappointed though, as I’ve always told my kids the milkshakes are made with lard to stop them wanting them, now it turns out it’s not true. (Interesting how the myths change per country: for Pig Fat in Canada read Lard in the UK).

October 22 2013 3:09 PM

Nice post. It’s getting harder to hide out there - and if people are talking about you, it’s better to be seen as an organisation that embraces that debate rather than hiding from it.

's avatar

October 22 2013 3:11 PM

Nice post. It’s getting harder to hide out there - and if people are talking about you, it’s better to be seen as an organisation that embraces that debate rather than hiding from it.

Joe Bush

October 22 2013 3:20 PM

Very interesting post. As John says, it’s near impossible to hide out there. Engage and connect with your customers through the channels they choose will build brand loyalty and insight which has been difficult to assimilate in the past.


October 22 2013 3:20 PM

That’s inspirational Sarah. I’m hoping that one day soon B2B brands start embracing brave and open way of engaging with people. One way of doing this could be enabling product or service customer reviews directly on their websites. Simple thing to implement, probably more of a challenge to manage, but most of all, in my opinion what’s needed is a pair of, let’s say for the sake of this respectable blog, courage.

October 23 2013 12:01 PM

Using social media and tools such as live chat are also great for addressing questions or concerns immediately before they escalate into becoming an issue for your brand. By making yourself more accessible to your customers, requires up front thinking but you will reap the rewards.

October 21 2024 2:22 PM