Companies need to learn that legions of PR weasels, global corporate responsibility initiatives and millions of dollars worth of marketing often make us think even less of them than we did to begin with. We’ve seen enough of it by now that when McDonald’s or Wal-Mart start launching major campaigns to prove to the world how gosh darn lovable, kind and benevolent they are, we see it for what it is: obsequious Eddie Haskel mode until we look away long enough for them to start their trouble-making again. The small human gestures companies make are usually worth a lot more.
For example, we rolled our eyes at McDonald’s Corporate Responsibility blog, but we’re genuinely touched by this story. Two teenage employees of a La Feria, Texas McDonald’s were tragically killed in an accident two weeks ago. So what did McDonald’s do? Put the kids faces on their paper bags? Issue an impersonal statement to the press? Nope — they donated all their sales for a six hour period to the family to help pay for funeral expenses. With a minimum of fanfare and chest thumping to boot.
That’s the sort of sympathetic gesture that earns you a lot of good will, McDonald’s. The lesson’s pretty simple: if you want to seem more human, act like one. Good job.