Category — pr
A couple days back the food giant Nestle(after being targeted by Greenpeace) stepped on the wrong side of Social Media by posting rude and insensitive status updates and comments on their Facebook page. As expected, updates like this
and comments like this
did not go down well with their existing fans and those who checked the page because of the brouhaha. Therefore, Nestle suddenly found itself in middle of another debacle courtesy inappropriate management of their Facebook page. The person handling their Facebook page obviously had no idea (nor does he/she have any now) of the blunder he/she committed.
Now that the mistakes have been made and realized, what next? I’ve read as much as ten posts by Indian and International bloggers/social media whatevers essentially either link blogging what others are saying or making the most obvious and superficial suggestions how the tone of the messages should not have been rude etc. Interestingly none of them offered a direction if not a solution of what can a brand do if it happens to run into a situation like this.
Possibly, it’s because none of those who wrote about the Nestle Crisis have ever managed a single Fan page by themselves.
Keeping that aside here’s a quick list of things that I would have done had I been in charge of the Fan page
( I have intentionally limited the scope of discussion to Facebook Fan Page and Off course I don’t expect everyone to agree with my method)
1) Admit you have made mistake(s):
One of the best ways to start your firefighting plan is by acknowledging your mistake and maybe promising that it won’t happen in future. A big brand admitting they did something wrong and apologizing gives everyone the signal that the brand is conscious of what it is doing and sets the expectation right. Also, most aggressive critics and fans turned critics an ego boost from this.
2) Remove offensive content:
Yes, remove the content that offended people. Irrespective of what others feel I am a strongly believer that you should remove offensive content to avoid it offending even more people. An offensive status message will keep getting more eyeballs with time and it’s best to take it out of the loop.
3) Change the Landing Tab:
This is what one gets if they go to the Nestle Facebook page
The deal here is that it shows you the same things irrespective of the fact whether you are a fan or not. This landing page could temporarily be changed to some other tab, say info.
Facebook Default Landing Tab settings.
4)Turn of “Auto expand” comments:
Slightly below the default landing tab drop down is another option that let’s you configure if the comments
on a status will be expanded by default(with top few comments listed) or will they just show up as *x comments*, only on clicking which one can see the comments. The idea here is to reduce the visibility of negative content so as to reduce others doing the same thing.
These are just a few things that can possibly be done to control the situation from flaring further and in case things go really out of hand temporarily stop fans from posting comments to your page all-together.
All the points mentioned above are just for firefighting a Nestle like crisis on Facebook and are obviously not the perfect solution. Some people for example might have issues with removing the offensive content or making it less/easily visible but then a temporary fix needs to be done to avoid things from spilling over. Also, once the basic firefighting is taken care of the brand must get back to doing the right things and work its way out of the Crisis.
March 21, 2010 2 Comments
If you are a blogger from a metro Indian city with decent online presence chances are you might have been contacted for some brand sponsored blogger meet or the other. While I am not sure about how things stand in other parts of the country, Delhi is definitely seeing a lot of activity on this front. The PR firms and Social Media agencies are increasingly going all out to woo the bloggers to help them spread the word about their clients new product, service etc. Given the fact that me and my fellow blogger friends get invited to an event/meetup every ten days you can imagine how things stand today and where they can go from here.
While being a Blogger and Social Media guy I am quite happy to be a part of the new scheme of things but I am not exactly happy with the way ‘Bloggers are being pitched’ by PR, Blogger relation firms and Social Media agencies and I am not alone in feeling this way about the way we are approached and followed up.
While a lot has been said about this already. I’d like to share a quick list of Do’s and Don’t s for approaching us (Bloggers) and hope the local agencies/individuals will learn a thing or two from it and in turn make things better for everyone involved.
The below mentioned list is for people who want to do their jobs better and are willing to make an effort for the same. So if you are one of those lazy guys who don’t want to make an effort, skip the post.
1) Don’t Send Bulk Emails/SMSes: While it might be the easiest way or the only way you know of to send email to a dozen folks, it is counter effective. Such bulk emails trigger the spam alert which I am sure would be the last thing you want. Also, being personal in your emails shows that you have spent some time on those emails and most bloggers would appreciate that. If you are new to the job or need to further fine tune the sending email bit, you can checkout ‘5 Tips for Writing Better Emails‘. The same applies to SMSes also.
2) Don’t Spam: Contrary to what you might think, sending multiple emails or smses about your client’s product or the agenda/reminder for your meet don’t guarantee any results. If I am interested in learning more about your product I’ll ask for it and the same goes for attending the meet or reviewing the product. If I am keen to attend the meet I’ll attend it, sending me reminders every 2-3 days. Bombarding me with information about your product/meet might make me lose all interest.
3) Don’t Instruct: I am not sure how it works with journalists but telling bloggers what they should and shouldn’t write isn’t the best thing. Giving them pointers or sharing key points is good but telling them you should write ‘this’ or you can write ‘that’ isn’t.
4) Don’t Act Desperate: Yes, it’s plain stupid when PR/Agency folks start acting desperately to ensure a bloggers attendance or getting them to write about something. If a blogger finds your event interesting and they can fit it nicely in their schedule they will attend it, asking them to send a cab or pay for conveyance generally doesn’t help. Similarly asking them to test a product or share it with their friends multiple times ends up doing more bad(though not easily visible) than good.
1) Know the Blogger: It might sound obvious but I am sure most people who approach bloggers have almost no clue about them. You need to spend some time researching about the person behind the blog. The least you can do is to find out some background of the person and what he/she likes to write about.
It helps you to verify if the blogger in question would be interested in learning/reviewing your client’s product.
2) Plan Reasonably: This is another aspect that needs some fine tuning. Bloggers are people too and majority of them(at least the one’s I know) are not full time bloggers and don’t make their living out of just blogging. Some have 9-5 jobs, some have businesses to run and thus a bloggers meet scheduled in the middle of a work week and that too in afternoon is unlikely to find any takers and pestering ‘em won’t help much. So it’s a good idea to take these things into consideration before planning a meet.
3) Build Relationships: If you are serious about your job and are thinking of long term associations you should definitely spend some time and effort in building relationships with bloggers that you’d like to involved with. Assigning blogger(s) to an individual is a good way to approach this unlike anyone from the PR firm emailing or calling any blogger at random. My response would definitely be better if I know the person approaching me beforehand and have had interactions with them before.
Here are some of the links you might want to read
How has been your experience as a blogger or PR/Agency person pitching bloggers like?
Update: The findings of a Global Blogger Survey done by Text 100 a few months back should make things even more clear for PR folks
October 4, 2009 11 Comments
As mentioned before Brands in India have started to open direct communication channels with bloggers for sharing a sneak preview of their new products and getting some community insights among other things. Samsung also took a formal plunge into direct conversations with bloggers in the form of ‘Samsung Jet Bloggers Meet’ (#sjbm). Samsung called upon select bloggers and mobile enthusiasts from the town to share more about their latest phone ‘Samsung Jet’. Jet is a smart and powerful phone with loads of interesting features. You can checkout their microsite for more details on the phone (and in case the site takes too much time to load, you can checkout the specs here.
After the introduction by a professional (and good looking ) emcee, Sarfaraz Borah, Product Manager, Samsung kickstarted the session by showing a demo video for ‘Samsung Jet’ and then explaining its features in details while answering audience questions in between. While Sarfaraz was explaining the new model in all seriousness, a caricature artist (which was hired by organizers) was busy making interesting caricatures of the guests, btw here’s mine (How’s it ?)
The talk by Sarfaraz was followed by a quick summary of the whole thing by Ankur (Digital Marketing Manager – Samsung) and the summary was followed by a quick Tweet Q & A competition regarding the Jet presentation. @praval was the lucky winner and managed to closely beat @twilightfairy to get Jet as a prize. With another phone left to give away there was a lucky draw in which @twilightfairy, true to her name, pulled off a great trick and picked her self as the winner.
It was really nice meeting the blogger folks and friends over beer and snacks at the meet @ TGIF. Thanks Samsung, Starcom and Blogworks for the nice event
PS: In case you missed the meet, I shall try to make pre-event posts for future events.
September 6, 2009 19 Comments
It’s not uncommon for MNC’s like IBM , TCS to part sponsor a medium or large scale event in India related to bloggers, techies or social media guys but there’s a new trend in the offering. Off late companies(especially product ones) have started to reach out to their target audience(bloggers in most cases) by not just sponsoring a third party event but by organising events exclusively for their target audience. A couple of weeks back Nokia organized a bloggers meetup in Gurgaon’s Trident Hotel to reach out to bloggers and share more about their latest model N97.
On the same lines Lenovo organized a bloggers(tech?) meet yesterday at All Sports Bar,CP. The meet was aimed at spreading the word about newly launched line of products by Lenovo and giving the bloggers an opportunity to check out the newest models of laptops/all-in-one’s and learn more about them from the company folks directly.
“Engagement”, said Lenovo’s product manager is what sets small/niche meets like these apart from generic medium to large scale events and as an attendee I couldn’t agree more. With more than 6 people to attend to a dozen bloggers not only everyone got sufficient attention and information about the products, we all got a chance to explore the products, test them out and learn a thing or two otherwise.
It’s nice to see PR evolve to the Social Media circles in India and would be interesting to see how things go from here.
July 1, 2009 2 Comments
People love connecting with others who share the same tastes, goals, beliefs, lifestyle, social status, locality and even dislikes. Essentially (most) people are on a lookout for new groups to join and satiate their innate desire of belonging, of being a part of something along with others for all sorts of reasons.
Brands are one of the many possible threads that connect people in many ways and it’s not limited to just those who like the same brand of alcohol or the same brand of cigarette but even to kids who like the same brand of candy.
Brands, because of the way they are intertwined in our daily lives offer tremendous ways(even unconsciously) for their customers to connect and luckily for them, people want to connect with the brands they love. They connect to find like minded people, to know more about the brand and their latest offerings, in hope of availing some offers/discounts or just to broadcast their choices to the world. Since the advent of social software , the grouping of people into communities/tribes has peaked a new high.
Ridiculously easy group-forming matters because the desire to be part of a group that shares, cooperates, or acts in concert is a basic human instinct that has always been constrained by transaction costs. Now that group-forming has gone from hard to ridiculously easy, we are seeing an explosion of experiments with new groups and new kinds of groups – Clay Shirky, author of “Here Comes Everybody”
What does all this mean for brands ? Yes, if you are a brand that people love/like and you’d like to take your relationship to the next level then you should also think of having your community.
Here are the top 5 reasons why your brand should have a community.
According to me, the most important thing a brand can get from a community is honest feedback. Be it a new product or a new ad campaign, it’s extremely important to know what your customers feel about what you are doing. Forget market research, a community gives you a direct channel to know more about your customers, what are they like and what they like. This can be immensely helpful in improving the existing products and services and building better ones. This group can also be used to beta test a new product/idea.
Community, means audience that likes your brand and wants to stay connected. A small but focused audience is a lot better than large but unfocused audience. The difference here is that this audience wants to know more about your brand/products/services as much(if not more) as you want to tell them. This means the conversion rates for any campaign here would be higher than that of a campaign aimed at a randomly chosen lot.
3) Brand Image:
Everyone loves a social brand, a brand that’s closely connected with it’s customers scores better over one that isn’t. Having a community around a brand will better the brand image in general and lend more trust and loyalty to it . If a brand is spending resources to build and foster a community it shows that it cares. Cares for its customers and is willing to give them back some love.
Will you feel nice if you get a birthday greeting from your favorite brand ?
Will you feel nice if you get a discount offer on the latest product from your favorite brand ?
Will you feel nice if you get a sneak preview about the upcoming range of products from your favorite brand ?
If the answer to any of the above is yes, you are highly likely to talk to your friends(online and offline) about it and that’s how buzz starts to build and spread. The way communities work naturally supports word of mouth. In a group even small things aren’t small. Also, there are other factors associated with a brand’s community that add more credibility and virality to the buzz ,which in turn helps it to spread faster and wider.
5) Crisis Aversion/Management:
Think about it, would things have been a bit better had dominos already been on Twitter or Youtube ? I am sure things would be been better(even though slightly). By having an account on any of these services would have helped them in connecting with a small fraction of their customers who spend considerable time online and if there online interactions with the brand had been good, they would have definitely(on their own) taken on the task of dozing the fire and maybe prevented it from snowballing and this is just a small community on a third party tool.
I am by no means suggesting that every brand should have a community, these points are just to share why I feel it’s important for brands to have communities. What do you think ?
Pic Courtesy: http://www.ccfa.org/
April 24, 2009 11 Comments
Twitterverse is again abuzz with news about another Pizza maker but luckily this time it’s not for some negative news. The brand in question here is PizzaHut and the news is that PizzaHut has posted for an opening on their site for a Twintern(wondering how they came up with that word).
As per the requirements posted by the company, the Twintern would be closely working with PR team and would be responsible for maintaining and growing their social media presence, monitoring social media tools and doing PR outreach for the company. While most people(read Twitterers) are visibly excited about this piece of news there’s more to it than “Oh, somebody’s getting paid for Tweeting and Facebooking, that’s uber cool”.
David Teicher raises some valid concerns while trying to figure out the motive behind this move. This move clearly has to be motivated by the recent Domino’s Debacle but is reacting in this way a wise thing to do ? Few things that immediately come to one’s mind
1) What’s the strategy behind this move ?
Social Media is not just about tools. Jumping straight to a tool without having a clearly formulated strategy is a big NO.
2) Is it really right putting a college student on the drivers seat ?
Making him/her their official SM spokesperson and giving him/her unparalleled access to marketing strategies doesn’t quite sound right.
3) Who will supervise the intern’s work ?
There needs to be someone senior who has to take care of the intern’s work profile and how is he/she handling it. Given the niche nature(at least in PizzaHut) of the job I am not sure if there will be any approriate senior(with social media expertise) to supervise his/her work.
From the looks of it, this seems more like an experimental move, probably driven from the PR department to leverage the situation and get some traction in social media circles. As expected, there has been a rise in the mention of “PizzaHut” in Twitter since the news came out.
Whatever the case maybe, this move will boost confidence of others who were contemplating jumping on the social media bandwagon and also give a tiny ray of hope for those millions of Twitterers, that they too can one day get paid of posting updates on their favorite service.
April 21, 2009 3 Comments
It’s been a few days since that appalling video of Domino’s employees tampering with food at their outlet got attention of social media users and started spreading in a viral manner. A crisis like this can easily get worse if things are not handled correctly and in a timely manner but luckily(mostly) for Domino’s that’s not the case. Despite the huge wave of disgust that the video generated, it feels like things are under control now and the negative buzz which was generated will subside in the next few days.
1) Initiate action against the culprits:
The folks at Domino’s were quick to realize that “actions speak louder than words” and thus their first step was to initiate an inquiry into the matter and punish the guilty. Not only were the employee involved terminated from their jobs, they are now in custody and face felony charges.
2) Stop the negative content from spreading:
Stopping new people to talk about negative content and trying to control the spread of negative content should be next on the agenda. Domino’s got this right(though it took some time) and got the video off YouTube.
3) Participate in social media conversations:
Domino’s guys were decently quick to realize that they were getting a lot of bad PR in Twitter and thus they jumped into the scene by creating an account on Wednesday afternoon and started engaging with disgusted people. This works well for various reasons including pumping out positive things which otherwise don’t spread that virally as the negative one’s.
There is nothing more important or sacred to us than our customer’s trust
While the firefighting efforts had started on Twitter, Domino’s guys opened another front on YouTube by posting a nicely drafted public apology by Patrick Doyle, President of Domino’s U.S.A. The apology helped in re-affirming brands commitment towards it’s customer’s trust. Patrick also mentioned the steps they plan to take to avoid future happening of any untoward incident like this( sanitizing stores, tighter recruitment process, daily audits etc)
While Domino’s did open communication channels on a few Social Media Tools they didn’t announce anything on their official web resources and didn’t do a press release as they feared this will lead more people to know about this debacle and invite more embarrassment for the brand said Tim McIntyre, Dominos spokesman. So domino’s websites remain the way they were, as if nothing happened. While I see the point, I would have still preferred an official “what we are doing about the incident” channel.
Update: Domino’s site has an official update for their customers
While these efforts will definitely help in dozing the fire, it will still take a lot of continued effort on Domino’s part to keep the fire from spreading.
For example: It will take them a while to realize that while they have removed the video from YouTube, goodasyou still has that video and a few even gross one’s and some explaining for this(assuming it’s not fake)
and ensuring that people don’t start talking about other things which can further take down their brand value
The next few days would be interesting, let’s see how the situation stands then.
April 16, 2009 No Comments