As the world’s largest restaurant chain and arguably the most recognizable brand image that exists, McDonald’s is always a topic of interest to publishers. The brand alone earned more than 21 million engagements to the 192k articles written about it in 2022, but when you reach the size the brand has, even news that seemingly has nothing to do with the company can end up having an impact.
Sean deGroot, Manager, Communications Measurement & Insights at McDonald’s knows this all too well. He joined the team at a time when the role of media monitoring was evolving — shifting from a McDonald’s-only approach to focus on a broader media monitoring strategy that includes competitive intelligence and issue-specific news. It’s now his responsibility to ensure that no important story is missed, and real-time data is at the forefront of his process.
On February 16th Sean deGroot will join NewsWhip CEO Paul Quigley on a webinar hosted by PRWeek to share insights on how an iconic brand has significantly advanced its efforts to collect and analyze data in real time, and found success in the new way it communicates.
Importance of real-time data
Managing the reputation of a household name like McDonald’s is no easy task, and that’s why Sean deGroot and his team lean on NewsWhip’s real-time alerting system to understand when and how news is landing online.
With access to real-time engagement data the team can make clearer decisions when it comes to formulating a response, correcting a story, or taking no action at all. There are several ways media monitoring tools can be meaningful to a brand like McDonald’s, but there are a few areas the team specifically likes to focus on.
1. Keeping stakeholders informed
One of the key activities for Sean deGroot’s team is making sure the wider team is constantly informed of anything that might affect their ability to do their jobs. This includes brand news, but also news on competitors, industry trends, and relevant topics of interest.
Based on the sensitivity of the captured content, stories are shared either via a system of real-time alerts or included in a daily morning briefing. Content shared in real-time allows for the McDonald’s media teams to request the needed updates and corrections to ensure fair and balanced media coverage.
2. Topic-based tracking
Monitoring specific issues and trending topics that might mention McDonald’s is a key part of the team’s daily responsibilities. This could include media coverage of potential lawsuits, food recalls, and major events that can make an impact on a global or national level.
Having searches set up to identify the stories being published allows the crisis team to stay on top of the news and prepare communications both internally and externally.
3. Local news coverage
Sean and team have also found success in monitoring the news on a smaller scale. It may seem more worthwhile to focus on national coverage, but McDonald’s has seen the benefit in
connecting field PR teams with local news alerts. Between restaurant issues, employee concerns, or a media story that’s gained attention in a certain area, it’s always possible for a local news story to get picked up by a mainstream publisher.
This just scratches the surface of McDonald’s communications playbook, so join us on February 16th to hear Sean deGroot and Paul Quigley unpack more about the brand’s strategy, and how the use of real-time data has become an integral part of its business.
You can register for the upcoming webinar here.