If a company still doesn’t “get” how social media has changed the rules of branding by empowering consumers, look no further than the ongoing Nestle firestorm.
Nestle has been in trouble for a while, due primarily to its continuing use of palm oil in its products. Palm oil is linked to environmental harm, including deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions and endangered species loss.
Caroline McCarthy of CNET News shared a post about the Nestle brand crisis, triggered by ticked off consumers on Facebook. Nestle was clueless about the power shift enabled by social media and acted in an old-school authoritarian “we own the brand” way. It not only didn’t work, it backfired.
There are vital lessons from the Nestle debacle for professional communicators advising their execs or clients:
1. Before diving into social media, make sure key decision makers truly “get” how the game is played. It’s not a press release.