Sow how could Nestlé have done better?
The website PRDisaster.com has the following five points it says Nestlé should have considered before it ventured onto the interactive space:
1) It says the site is for people who want to celebrate their favourite Nestle brands; clearly, consumers are disregarding and disrespecting Nestle’s house rules for its site; they’re not celebrating Nestle at all. But what did Nestle (with its controversial PR credentials) really expect, wine and roses?
2) Nestle’s Facebook tone of voice is all wrong; it’s at times scolding and a bit sarcastic – that doesn’t foster positive Web2.0 PR
3) Perhaps Nestle should have first selected a forum (other than Facebook) that allowed it to set stronger privacy and moderation setting? A niche Ning network, for eg, and a measured digital reachout campaign might have helped it cultivate a core cohort of digital Nestle fans. If it had done that, they might have had better, more credible defenders for their public Facebook site.
4) Mashups and deconstruction are an everyday part of SocMed; people don’t care about Nestle’s corporate logo – let them play with it; don’t sweat the logoplay too much Nestle. Not in this forum, anyway.
5) Web2.0 is a field where anti-corporate activists play smarter, more aggressively than corporates. It was maybe inevitable that any foray would restimulate interest in the Palm Oil/deforestation/orang-utang extinction debates. Opportunistically, Greenpeace are jumping on the bandwagon in this regard. And the viral spread may create additional stakeholder pressure; so, is Nestle prepared for the bigger PR battle it may have to fight, after traditional media pickup on digital PR activism?
As a belated mea culpa, Nestle changed its Facebook status to read – “Social media: as you can see we’re learning as we go. Thanks for the comments.” But from a digital PR perspective I have to ask, “Why learn the lesson so painfully and so publicly, when some Web2.0 PR savvy could have avoided this entirely?
It isn’t just being present on Facebook that can lead one into hot water. Being Facebook itself can be problematic – as the social network discovered to its disadvantage with its Beacon advertising scheme. Attacked by lobbyists for infringing on users’ privacy, Facebook was ultimately forced to shut down the programme, and cough up $9.5 million in damages in a class-action suite.
But that’s not all. The internet has been since its inception, a place for people to whinge and complain and let off steam, an avenue that was never available to them ever before. And some of these people are really, really popular. Witness the case of Shashi Tharoor. Forced to resign after whipping up another twitstorm’, his 7.5 lac plus ‘followers’ rushed to his support, and the national media follow suit. What resulted was quite an embarrassment for everyone included.