At 100, Michelin Guide still leaves PRs’ mouths watering

At 100, Michelin Guide still leaves PRs’ mouths watering

Ana Mangahas

Ana Mangahas

A new Michelin guidebook for the UK and Ireland comes out this week and with it, much celebration and criticism. Celebration amongst those restaurateurs who will have their very first taste of being ‘Michelin-starred’; and criticism because in some circles, many are asking if the Guides Michelin are still relevant in a Web 2.0 world. Has the big rubber man lost his edge?

Think of the brilliance of the initial concept: publish a handy guide for a specific audience (motorists) about a topic on which you are expert (quality motorist services, including where to eat) published under the name of venerable brand (Michelin). Tyres-to-food is not such a tenuous link when you think about what Michelin wanted to achieve. Tony Naylor writes in the Guardian: “(Jean-Luc) Naret's strategy... was to cash in whatever brand value they had, expand quickly, and see whether they could establish some sort of position." In short, Michelin don’t really have to do much of their own PR these days, because the restaurants do it for them – by the champagne bucket-full.

Fast-forward to 2011 and the Michelin Guide is dogged by reputational issues: of being too stuffy and secretive; of being in denial about the Web (however, I see that @Michelin_100 has made 98 tweets and has 575 followers) ; and perhaps most dangerously, of diminishing relevance. Does it kowtow to big chefs? Possibly. But its traditions are so veiled in secrecy, one might never know for sure.

Personally, I think it’s premature to think that so many years of brand equity could be dissolved overnight. But I do believe the Guide would do well by turning its notoriety for aloofness into something more easily embraced. Like appealing more to young, old and aspiring foodies alike . And it should note that, because we are an ageing society, we’re also a lot less pliable and willing to take things on face value, especially when discovering and collecting various points of view is far more fun.

Will you be ordering your 2011 UK and Ireland guide?

Share this story:

Read more from the blog

Blog

SAG-AFTRA Strikes and the Ripple Effect on AI Adoption

The influence of the recent SAG-AFTRA strikes extends far beyond pay. Driven by concerns over fair compensation and working conditions, the strikes have highlighted broader issues surrounding the relationship between technology (AI in particular) and labour. ...Read more

Emily Royle
Emily Royle
Blog

From potato to progress: Addressing communication breakdowns

Miscommunication and misunderstanding are part and parcel of life. They happen often, and if corrected in good time, no big deal. But what happens when there’s a communication breakdown that is left unaddressed? The relationship breaks down too. ...Read more

Charlotte Stoel
Charlotte Stoel
Blog

Pan-European PR: It’s so much more than translation

We often consider translation to be at the heart of communicating across borders - but Pan-European PR is so much more. ...Read more

Megan Hogg
Megan Hogg

Add a comment

Time limit exceeded. Please complete the captcha once again.

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

Is it time to shape your reputation?

We operate in London, Paris and Munich, and have a network of like-minded partners across the globe.

Get in touch

Sign up to Spark, our newsletter

Receive thought pieces from our leadership team, views on the news, tool of the month and light relief for comms folk

You can unsubscribe at any time, please read our privacy policy for more information