As one who pays attention to the public relations world, I often notice especially good or especially bad examples. One especially good example I noticed recently was McDonald’s CEO, Don Thompson, in a brief CNBC documentary, Inside McDonald’s.
CNBC fires several tough-ish questions at Thompson, all of which he answers in plain English, followed by one very important thing: he steers the discussion back to his points. Even the classic, “(controversial topic) followed by, “how do you feel about this?’” comes back around to “we’re about opportunity” in a conversational manner.
Talking Points & Must-Airs
It’s pretty clear that in preparing for this interview – and you know there was some serious preparation – keywords definitely included, “opportunity,” “innovation,” “real food,” and a few others that stand out to anyone who’s ever done any sort of media analysis. Still, Thompson comes off as sincere, keeping his cool (very important), and gives a textbook example of handling questions on one’s feet.
Reporter: You said last year the menu to you seemed to lack a bit of energy. You didn’t want to repeat what you did last year. What went wrong?
Thompson: Well, I’ll say it’s less than what went wrong, it’s what didn’t we do? It’s always about the opportunity. Some of the opportunities we had were… (and: back to talking points).
Inside McDonald’s is much less of a hard-hitting exposé than a top-level look at how things operate. Regardless of what you think of McDonald’s (they are not paying me for this, and I do eat there occasionally) or the merits of this production vs. others – see Netflix for some less-than-friendly reviews – the interaction between reporter and executive here is what makes this worth watching.
Here’s Inside McDonald’s in its entirety via Bloomberg.com: