Social Media has proven to be a great tool to build customer loyalty. Brands can communicate directly with their customers and build an emotional relationship with their most important clients. But with this direct dialog, brands also face a threat. A hard bulit brand value can easily be destroyed with the wrong social media pr tactics.
The stumbling block was the new Greenpeace campaign protesting against Nestlé’s “unsustainable palm oil policy” and accusing Nesté for being the driving force in cutting down the rain forest. In reaction to this campaign, many Facebook followers started to post angry comments on the Nestelé Facebook fan page. The reaction of Nestlé was to delete fans and to post defensive comments as reaction, which pumped up the crowd even more.
Protests against a corporate brand are not something that is new. In the past we’ve seen several activist, hitting the streets and afterwards been featured in the media. What is new is the form in which the protest is being made, namely over Facebook and other social media channels. The problem for the most companies is, that they do not have the knowledge or the resources to handle such a crisis yet. It’s not possible any more to just hold a media conference or publish a multi page press release. The web community of today hits the companies every minute with new posts and facts. They lack the personnel to actively and efficiently communicate with this new social media phenomena, which has it’s own language and rules you have to follow. Ergo: the companies lack the community managers.
With the new communications channels of the Web 2.0 people around the world have the possibility get heard. This means for companies that they no longer can work the way they have in the past. Supply chain managers have to look at where they buy their products and not only focus on the price. New PR techniques have to be established to react properly to reaction in the new web channels. Meaning: the trend is going to a world where the consumer gets to say, where, what, how he wants his products.
This example shows how important it is for companies to be active in social media. Otherwise you can go down in seconds.