Peterborough really doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. From humble beginnings as a Saxon village to becoming a fast-growing city with a diverse, strong economy and high-performing business sectors such as energy and environment, financial services and engineering and manufacturing, it is a force to be reckoned with.
It’s also got a pretty rich history. From being Catharine of Aragon’s burial place, home to highway men throughout the years, home to JLS, a stunning cathedral and a regeneration project underway – not to mention only being 45 minutes from London on the train.
Despite this, anyone from Peterborough knows that actually, when it comes to explaining your hometown, you’re likely to respond with ‘Cambridge’ if answering someone from within the UK. ‘London’ if they are from further afield. I’ve been there, many times.
However, all this is about to change thanks to one brand – McDonald’s. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the fast-food chain has put Peterborough on the map since announcing the re-opening of some of its restaurants, because six of them are located in this fair city.
To find out how many people become immediately interested in Peterborough, we took to our research tools to uncover the data, and boy – were people interested.
Google Trends shows that in the last 30 days, searches for ‘Peterborough McDonalds’ has risen by 900%, and you can see from the image below that this spiked on the same day as the announcement.
While the term ‘Peterborough’ also spiked from May 20th– 21st.
Peterborough even began trending on Twitter as people took to the social platform to share either their glee, jealous rage or utter disbelief that we were about to have multiple McDonald’s restaurants open – another indication that there was a sharp spike in mentions of the city following the announcement, as Twitter’s algorithm favours immediate increases in mentions rather than sustained, steadier growth of topic.
peterborough. thanks alot mcdonalds, wifes upset and the kids are crying now👍 https://t.co/ABWD2M4Gym
— astrid (@neondolll) May 20, 2020
find yourself someone who looks at you the way McDonalds looks at Peterborough pic.twitter.com/ihPGMtWh9M
— etymologic (@etymologic) May 20, 2020
you won luton & peterborough. enjoy the mcdonalds, i hope it makes you very happy. dear lord, what a sad little life luton & peterborough. you ruined my night, completely, so you could have the mcdonalds. https://t.co/7cQoLcMmpm
— jess🐝♡ (@imaginebusweII) May 20, 2020
People from Peterborough when Peterborough finally put on the map by McDonalds pic.twitter.com/obKJrLwGTe
— Elias ۵۱ (@ElMoradi51) May 20, 2020
We were even treated to mentions in a variety of publications including local news outlets in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire as well as Sky News, The Guardian, Metro, The Mirror and The Express; publications that those working within marketing or digital PR only dream of achieving in one hit!
So, what can we take from this? To start with, the power of a big brand. McDonald’s put Peterborough into the spotlight without even skipping a beat, without trying – without meaning to, and it still happened. This should inspire you to build a ‘brand’ around your business, raise brand awareness and engage with your audience to build loyal brand advocates.
Secondly, this presented a great opportunity for businesses in Peterborough to execute some ‘newsjacking’ – a strategy for piggybacking off breaking news stories to capitalise on their reach and popularity.
Finally, don’t discredit social media. You might’ve previously overlooked platforms such as Facebook and Twitter when it comes to your brand’s social media, thinking that it isn’t the right audience for you. I understand your way of thinking, but Twitter is a great platform for monitoring trending topics, connecting with publications, journalists and thought-leaders in your space, as well as building your brand through sharing the right content – whether it’s yours, or you are newsjacking!
To cap it off, I just want to thank McDonald’s for putting this fine city on the map! If you want to discuss any of the elements or strategies discussed in this post, or just have a love-in over Peterborough, get in touch with a member of the Media Matters team.