Healthcare Marketing: When Under Attack – Navigate the Social Media Water Carefully

When a brand is under attack, the reaction is honest and clear communication.

Nestle is one of the latest brands that has come under attack on social media sites.  Recently, Greenpeace released a video of a guy eating a Kit Kat and dripping blood from his mouth onto his computer.  The tagline was “Give Orangutans A Break” which is a takeoff of Kit Kat’s branding line.  The beef was that Nestle purchases palm oil from sources that destroy rainforests.

The video was effective.  It started a deluge of complaints.  And Nestlé’s response angered consumers even more. And as the harassment intensified, Nestle went quiet.  Not the best response.  In reaction to Nestlé’s bungling of the situation, Marketing  Profs offered a few pieces of good advice:

1. When people attack, don’t see it as a siege. Rather view it as a desire to trust your brand again.  People want to eat a Kit Kat without feeling guilty.

2. Be open and honest.  Nestle has stated they will try to be 100% sustainable by 2015.  Other than that, Nestle has been quiet.   Worse, people don’t feel the company is doing its best to remedy the situation.  Especially in the face of Cadbury giving up palm oil in 2009 in a few weeks following similar protests.

3. Show your human side.  When things go wrong, it’s okay to share your mistakes, regrets and your desire to address the issue(s).

Every brand faces problems and difficulties from time to time.  And in today’s environment social media networks will air the problems and perhaps follow it up with a wave of complaints.  The social-media seas can be stormy ones.  An honest, open and sincere response is generally the best way to navigate the storm.


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