When the slightest possibility of Bad Business Communication of a brand is detected, it is important to control the situation and intervene at the moment. And for this we must bear in mind that the elements that affect the reputation of a company on the Internet are, on the one hand, all the conversations that have been generated as a result of the communication of the brand and, on the other hand, all the information , either own or from third parties, about the products and services of the brand. If the conversations and information that is published are handled incorrectly, the online reputation will end up being compromised.
Here are the five examples of situations in which a crisis in marketing and public relations on the Internet was improperly managed.
Heineken: Heineken Pilsener, known by everyone as Heineken is a large paper beer with 5.0% alc. vol, made in the Netherlands. This drink was created in 1873 by Gerard Adriaan Heineken and during its beginnings several important prizes were awarded; Medaille d’Or (1875), Diplome d’Honneurs (1883), Grand Prix (1889) and Hors Concours Membre du Jury (1900).
The beer brand, despite having a long professional career, has failed to adapt to social changes. An example of this is its presence in the list of “5 examples of poorly managed crises in online marketing and public relations’.
Heineken ranks first on the list as a result of a packaging design contest launched through its social networks. The problem arose when the brand established in the contest rules, that all those who participated authorized the company to keep the rights of the designs that were submitted. The reactions were swift, most designers, both those who chose to participate and those who did not, denounced the clause as abusive.
Faced with situations such as these, public relations develop a reactive action plan, which influences the following elements:
- Show stability: approach to the facts
- Recognition and explanation of the problem
- Explain the planned solutions
- Evaluation or justification
The company in this situation did not know how to apply the reactive action plan because it did not apply any of the elements listed above. Additionally, the marketing director of Heineken appreciated in the media making statements that further damaged the image of the brand. His statements were as follows: “Internet is a means to get creative talent for free.” Given these unfortunate statements, the reaction of the designers was immediate; They created a Facebook page with the name “50,000 liters of culture”, which served as a platform to demonstrate their indignation in a creative and humorous way. They also asked for 10 liters of free beer to celebrate cultural events.
The crisis could have been quickly resolved if an action plan composed of clear and effective communication had been applied. The brand should also have designated a community manager, who is responsible for talking directly with the participants along with all the unhappy people, including arriving to apologize for the clause imposed. Instead of conducting an interview reaffirming and downplaying the fact of seizing the work of other people. Therefore, the crisis that Heineken suffered in this case was deserved for not tackling the problem in time and effectively, they wanted to downplay it and in the end its public image was damaged.
Toyota: The anomalies experienced by some models of Toyota in 2010 led to a serious crisis of the company, which had already managed to position itself in the US market as a manufacturer of reliable cars. Despite the revision of the models in which the problem was detected with the accelerator, consumers began to report the situation, which resulted in the death of four passengers in a traffic accident caused by these factory defects. Toyota, instead of offering all possible information to customers, media and shareholders, tried to cover the situation, creating a reputation crisis that caused a negative balance of about 2,000 million euros and a precipitous drop in their shares.
To solve such a crisis, Toyota should have anticipated, designating a person to talk about the problem on behalf of the company, creating a constant flow of information about the situation, not hiding anything in the conversations that were generated and abandoning the arrogance to be able to listen to their clients.
Nestlé: Greenpeace, concerned about the deforestation of the forests in Indonesia, published a story in a video in which it reported that the Kit Kat bars were made with palm oil from these forests, the orangutan’s habitat with the greatest risk of extinction of the country. Nestlé, by not recognizing reality, provoked a striking social media campaign against it. Despite the comments and actions of consumers, Nestlé maintained its position and even began to eliminate all comments that spoke on the subject. A reaction that caused users to join and attack the Nestlé profiles.
The crisis should have been treated with integrity, trying to explain the truth and the scope of this situation, abandoning that arrogant stance and, instead, reacting and changing production, bringing out a positive aspect of the crisis.
Tulipán: Tulipán received a complaint in which he was accused that the recipes and the photographs he published on his website were, in fact, plagiarized by a blogger, without taking into account the author’s rights. News that provoked an avalanche of reactions in social networks and that ended with the immediate withdrawal of all the plagiarized material. Tulipán apologized for the events but blaming what happened to human failure, further enhancing the crisis of reputation in which the brand was.
Inditex: The textile group, with a net positive result of 1,700 million euros, occupies the second position of reputation in Spain in 2011. But a recent accusation of plagiarism to two brands of the group, Stradivarius and Bershka, accompanied by the publication In some online media the designs copied from illustrators, photographers and bloggers triggered a crisis in the credibility of the company. The group responded by removing from the market the designs accused of plagiarism and publicly apologizing.
Despite the crisis situation, Inditex remains in the top positions in social networks, something that managed to clearly explain how their designs are directed, quickly taking products from the market and apologizing and managing their brands on social networks with profiles updated and a clear social media strategy.