The Case Study Analysis
As stated previously, this website analyzes McDonald’s environmental program in the context of the Swedish culture. To further elaborate, the case study and culture will be discussed using the seven P’s of social marketing. These seven P’s are product, price, place, promotion, publics, partnership, policy and purse strings. The McDonald’s case study is not truly a social marketing effort because the company’s main motive for change is profit. However, the company is making a large effort of corporate social responsibility. It is for this reason that the seven P’s of social marketing will be used to analyze the case study.
Product – the item being offered.
The product is not necessarily a physical object but might be a service, a practice or an idea. In the case of McDonald’s, the product is a clean environment. It is tangible in some respects and intangible in others. Not only is environmentalism something you can see in terms of the land, but it is also an idea, almost a religion in Sweden. The product McDonald’s was offering was very pleasing to the Swedish community because of their immense respect for nature and their ever-continuing efforts to keep the environment healthy. Furthermore, the Swedes are an innovative culture and company improvements, such as the ones McDonald’s was making, appeals to them.
Price – the cost of the product.
It is not always a monetary value. The price of something might be personal discomfort, time or energy. The price of the product McDonald’s was buying and selling did cost actual money. Implementing recycling programs, purchasing organic foods, reorganizing distribution centers were all part of the cost. However, what the company was selling, ultimately a better public image, cost the company time, man hours, training, even the possibility of failure. Fortunately, this was not the case for McDonald’s. The effort spent was worth it when made up for in profits and a more positive public image. The price for Swedish customers was maybe spending a few extra seconds sorting their trash into the recycling bins. But for a community that is conscious of this already, it is hardly a price at all.
Place – how the product reaches the customer.
This could be through a distribution center for a physical product. For intangible products, this includes the channels through which the product is sold. It could be mass media, commuter stores, doctor’s offices, etc. McDonald’s product reached the customers through the restaurants. As stated earlier, the employees were trained in the company’s environmental agenda so they could pass it on to the customers.
Promotion – the integration of advertising, public relations, promotions and media advocacy.
The purpose is to create demand for the product through events, news articles, editorials, etc. Unfortunately, the case study does not say anything about promotion of the changes happening within McDonald’s. But perhaps something as simple as the multiple recycling bins in each restaurant was a way to promote the changes among the public. Since the Swedes are very conscious of recycling, this kind of change would be sure to catch their attention. Although nothing is mentioned in the case study, one could assume that there were a few news stories about the changes McDonald’s was making. Since the majority of Swedes are literate and have either a TV or radio, publicizing the program via the news would be a good way to tell the story.
Publics – audiences to which the program affects.
The publics are not limited to just targeted consumers but also includes stakeholders, like the media, policymakers, management, bill payers and such. In the case of McDonald’s, the main publics were the company’s employees. If they didn’t support the program, it would not be successful. McDonald’s took steps immediately to get the employees to understand the importance and value of the program. Since most of the employees were Swedes, this could not have been difficult to do. Other publics would be shareholders of McDonald’s Sweden, customers, suppliers (food and materials) and even other divisions of McDonald’s. All were watching to see how the environmental program was going to effect them.
Partnerships – useful for large scale projects.
Partnerships are beneficial to an organization that cannot be effective by itself. Sometimes it is necessary to partner with a group that has more influence in order to make an impact. While McDonald’s needn’t partner with an organization for influence purposes, the company did partner with organizations to reach their goals. The main example of this would be The Natural Step. McDonald’s environmental program would not have been so successful without the direction and guidance of The Natural Step. Another example of a beneficial partnership would be with the distribution and detergent companies. Both of these companies did and still do work with McDonald’s to help them meet their environmental goals.
Policy – to create lasting change.
In order for a social change to take hold, there must be policies put into place upholding and defending the change. McDonald’s wasn’t out to change Swedish governmental policy, just policy within its own division. In order for the efforts to take firm root, the company leadership had to ensure that the program would not be forgotten, thus the Environmental Board and the copious communication products distributed through the company. Although it is not stated in the case study, it is safe to say that McDonald’s included environmental policy in their employee handbooks, annual reports and other enduring documents. Furthermore, McDonald’s had to come to term with Swedish government environmental policy such as meeting the standards of the Swedish TCO.
Purse strings – the money.
Most social marketing organizations are non-profit therefore it is necessary to partner with organizations that can provide funding. Grants and loans are also an option. McDonald’s, however, is a billion dollar company who had plenty of money to put forth a strong effort to change their company. In fact, it is likely that in their quest for environmental health McDonald’s funded many Swedish organizations by hiring those organizations to provide services like construction, surveys, audits and such.
In conclusion, the reason McDonald’s environmental agenda was and still is successful is because of the commitment of both the company and the Swedish people to better their world. Sad to say, but if the Swedes were not so adamant about the environment, McDonald’s might have never begun a program like this. Fortunately, they responded to the needs and preferences of their customers, met their demands and are better off for it.
The case study has stated that McDonald’s is continuing its efforts in the environmental arena in Sweden. And the effort is reaching other parts of the world as well. A corporate giant like McDonald’s has the influence to change the fast-food industry. Hopefully other fast-food restaurants will follow in the McDonald’s environmental footsteps.
For Sweden with the times
För Sverige i tiden
Royal Motto of His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustav (1973-present)
This website was developed by Devon Hylander, graduate student, American University, for the final project of Dr. Zaharna’s International Public Relations class. 23 October 2004.