What’s your perception worth?

I am somewhat embarrassed to say  that I went to McDonald’s the other day. It was one of those extenuating circumstances: I was starving, on the road, and they are pretty much as prevalent as Starbucks.

I thought I’d make a healthy choice and have a salad. Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past couple of years, you’ll notice that McDonald’s advertising has changed recently. In an attempt to manage the backlash against fatty, unhealthy foods, they have changed their advertising. Their commercials often focus on healthy lifestyle choices, a great example of which is their latest campaign to promote their new line of salads.

But I started to wonder, as I sat there, eating my salad, how many people come in to McDonald’s for a salad? I did a quick survey of the restaurant. As far as I could tell, I was the only person eating salad. A couple of older people were there for coffee and a muffin, but about 95% of the people there were eating burgers and fries.

It got me thinking: if you asked some random person on the street if McDonald’s serves healthy food, they would more than likely say yes. If you asked that same person when the last time was that they had a salad at a fast food restaurant, it would likely have been a long time ago.

We go to McDonald’s for a Big Mac. We don’t go there for salad. But what McDonald’s has done is shift our perception from thinking that they are a bad guy. Whether or not they are selling the salads doesn’t matter. What matters is that we no longer think of them as this huge, ugly corporation that is making our entire nation fat and sick (remember Supersize Me?).

Perception is valuable. How do people perceive you?

Just to be clear, I’m not advocating that you work on your hype and not follow through. I don’t like that McDonald’s has millions and millions of dollars to spend on slick advertising campaigns that appear to be able to change their public perception. What I am saying is, do some research and see if you can find out how people perceive you. Hopefully other people’s perception of you will be positive, and all you have to do is follow through to maintain that. But if it’s not 100% positive, think about how you can change that perception.

And then follow through.

Finally, in a bid to put my money where my mouth is, I’d like to invite you to share your perception of me in the comments section below. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I’m always interested in hearing ways I can improve.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed. You can also Subscribe via email.
(Visited 37 times, 1 visits today)
Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

Comments 5

  1. Rebecca, this is an uber-first-impression because I just started following you on Twitter. And I am new to Twitter.

    1. I love it that you’re asking this question. It speaks to your authenticity and – hopefully – your follow-through.

    2. You write well: succinct and compelling.

    3. Part of my initial positive impression of you is based on the points above, as well as my particular interest in your profile. You seem to be a talented young woman dedicated to finding the balance between the art & business and personal & professional aspects of your life. And you have chosen to help others do the same.

    I look forward to following your Blog, and to reading your responses to perceptions of you.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Hi Rebecca,
    I agree with Ann. You are very talented and I really admire you for the work you are doing with the arts community in Vancouver (and that you are a single mom makes me admire you that much more).
    I saw one of the workshops you gave last year and found it a little overwhelming and chaotic but I thought your enthusiam and passion for the subject was evident.
    Keep up the good work!
    Sheryl McGraw

  3. I’m more than a little conflicted when my friends diss Ronnie Mac. Don’t worry Rebecca – you aren’t the first and you won’t be the last.

    See, my nephew is an executive with MacDonald’s, my niece has moved up from the counter and I always wonder what they’d say in response to their company being perceived as you, and so many others have.

    Is it really Macdonald’s fault if customers aren’t utilizing the healthy choice? Isn’t it laudable that they are offering it when it may not be turning an appropriate profit?

    As for the health of the burgers – their website it says the burgers are 100% beef with only salt & pepper added. The hamburger supplier for McDonald’s Canada is the only Canadian winner of the prestigious Black Pearl Award from the International Association of Food Protection. (see: http://tinyurl.com/6gxot)

    So, is Ronnie M to be blamed because the type of people who generally utilize fast food make bad eating choices and eat too much? I dunno, it does feel like the ads could be trying to change that – not just change our perception.

    But – here’s my biggest problem with making my fellow redhead the bad guy: I think it’s a very limiting to demonize “best business practices” ie: Macdonalds’ successful campaign.

    As some people have suggested in Simon Ogden’s excellent collection of twitter posts about “how to fix theatre” (see: http://bit.ly/SRhaP) theatre could certainly use an image overhaul in the eyes of the public.

    I’m going to quiz my nephew at dinner next week for creative ideas about how to re-brand theatre as the healthy choice for a healthy mind : )

    Rebecca, I perceive you as smart, hard working, inventive, open, tenacious as hell and sexy. I’ve heard you’re an excellent actress, but this I haven’t seen.

    xo

    Deb Pickman
    http://www.twitter.com/TheatreUBC

  4. Thanks, everyone. Honestly, this was not fishing for compliments. I know I need work! 🙂

    Deb, thanks for your thoughtful point of view.
    I have a six-year-old, and we probably go to McDonald’s once a month or so for a treat. And honestly, I very seldom order a salad–if I’m going to McDonald’s, it’s a treat, and I’m going to get something fun (read: french fries).

    I loved Simon’s post as well. Let me know if your hotshot nephew comes up with any ideas for fixing theatre!

    PS. next time I produce a play, you’ll be the first to know…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.