Category: Collaborative Ideas


mcdonalds_logo_tmThis week our company focus will be on the fast-food giant McDonald’s, which I’m sure all of us have had a personal relationship with at some point in the past, whether we enjoyed it or not.  Often our experience depended on the customer service, which in many instances, at least in the world of the fast food industry, can make or break your dining experience.  In the case of McDonald’s, their employee base numbers around 750,000 individuals, with each and every one coming from a different background and often from varying arrays of life from all over the country, and more accurately the world.  McDonald’s has surely mastered the art of the quick bite and now they are in the midst of trying to conquer internal communications with their new employee blog StationM.

StationM is a project designed in order to reach the type of employee that doesn’t necessarily sit in front of a computer all day at work, like many other companies have the luxury for their employees to have.  McDonald’s, on the other hand, realizes that a vast amount of their employees do not have access to a computer until they are home, with family or friends, so they created an employee blog in which, although much conversation focuses on the day-to-day comings and goings of the job, also has a familial feel to it, for everyone on it has something in common, they work at McDonalds.

StationM is fostering a medium for employees from all parts of the McDonald’s family to chime in and make their voices heard.  Although a company as big as McDonald’s might often be overlooked when it comes to organizational management due to their vast success, they have taken it upon themselves to utilize the up and rising social media tools to help connect the people that have made them one of the most well known and profitable businesses they are today.  StationM seems to be a growing center for discussion that has already made strides to fix employee problems with the way things run.  Ultimately, these types of conversations will lead to happier and most likely more productive employees.

From an article on PRWeek entitled, “McDonald’s adding variety of voices on staffs comm site,” we see that as part of their communications strategy, Station M decided they would add bloggers from different geographies.  George Hradecky, internal communications manager for McDonald’s USA commented on the strategy citing how it would be a more authentic representation of the company’s restaurant staff.

From the perspective of the blog management functions, the corp. comm. team will select the topics for the posts, while the bloggers help to fuel the content arising around daily issues at various restaurants.  This sounds like a great way to manage a blog, by having corporate communicators control the overall themes, allowing the lower-level employees, who have the real-world McDonald’s experience, control the content most likely to resonate with employees.

Hope you all enjoyed the article.  See you soon.

dell_logo020307We all know Dell as being a major force in the computing industry.  It is a massive company that has been trying to become better communicators with their customers, which is something they previously have not be so adept at accomplishing, due primarily to the blogging works of Jeff Jarvis on his site BuzzMachine.com, which so aptly coined the phrase “Dell Hell” at the time.  Well times have changed and Dell has initiated a program called Ideastorm, which originated from Michael Dell in January 2007, with the purpose of increasing their social media skills, specifically in the blogosphere.  Dell is a direct company that is utilizing their new communication tools.  The way Ideastorm works is an idea is posted (marketing, sales, service, etc) then users vote positive or negative on the idea.  Following this, discussion and comments are circulated concerning the idea to work out tweaks and what not.  The final step is called Ideas in Action which finalizes the ideas.  They have 10,000 plus ideas and have implemented around roughly 200.  This project is immensely successful for Dell and is one of the reasons they have been headlined on many social media sites as being a company at the forefront that cares about consumers and their input.

Ideastorm is built on the software available at salesforce.com which is the same service that Starbucks uses for their similar consumer idea blog.  With Dell being the direct to consumer company that has made them the hugely successful business that they are, it is not necessarily the return on investments that is their primary focus.  They have followed their culture of being a company that is dynamic and democratic and this has proved to be immensely successful for both communication, innovations, and ultimately sales.  Ideastorm gets positive and negative feedback, but what Dell has understood, which many companies must be doing if they want to survive in this ever-changing economy, is to realize that all feedback is good feedback if you’re using it to better your business, goods, services, whatever it may be.

Although it might not seem so, not many resources are committed.  One individual, Communicator Vida Killian manages the site with an additional full time person reading the comments.  The genius behind it is the 40 Dell employees who monitor the blogosphere, whether they be engineers, marketers, etc, the fact of the matter is that dynmaic employees with varying expertises are all contributing their ideas and thoughts.  To commennt on the blog you must simply sign up and with subscriptions currently around 45,000 members it is obvious that Dell’s Ideastorm is a huge success.

Such a success that it gave birth to Dell EmployeeStorm, which is more of an internal site that gives Dell employees the opportunity to not only share, but discuss ideas for innovative Dell technologies.  It was the efforts of the company Cohn&Wolfe that helped to implement both the EmployeeStorm and IdeaStorm strategy, so check out their site.

Hope you enjoyed the article.  See you all soon!