5 Examples of Online Reputation Management in a Crisis

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5 examples of Online Reputation Management in a Crisis

Internet, social networks, and mobile browsing have become essential in our day today. And that is why it is increasingly important to take care of the reputation of brands on social media. Today we will see some examples of online reputation management in a crisis that can help us all to learn some lessons. Are you ready?

Online reputation management

In a survey of managers and executives around the world, 43% acknowledge that their companies are highly susceptible to the risks posed by a reputational crisis. The study corresponds to the British Standards Institute (BSI).

You just have to think, for example, about the impact that Tripadvisor reviews have on hotels, restaurants, or travel companies.

But the real lessons on how online reputation management should be faced in a crisis, we do not learn with statistics, but by getting fully into the analysis of case studies.

The following examples are not wasted. Do you want to know them? Well, I don’t make you wait any longer! ?

Online reputation management case studies in the face of a crisis

The following examples of managing digital online reputation in crisis situations include some of the worst managed. But from all of them, we can learn some valuable online reputation management in crisis lessons. Let’s see it!

Lesson 1. Nestlé and the orangutans of Indonesia

Online reputation crisis - Nestlé (Kit-Kat) case

This example is not the most current (2010), but it can be considered a classic due to the magnitude it reached.

It all started with a convincing video of Greenpeace in which accused Nestlé use palm oil in an area of Indonesia to develop its product known as Kit-Kat.

Apparently, the region of Indonesia where palm oil was extracted for the famous snack was the natural habitat of an endangered species of orangutan. The deforestation caused in the area had a severe impact on this species.

The direct manager was the company Sinar Mas, a supplier of palm oil. But Greenpeace appealed to Nestlé’s social responsibility.

The video went viral, and comments, memes, and publications against the brand began to spread through the networks like wildfire.

The company’s reaction was to withdraw the video, mediated by YouTube, alleging misuse of the brand, and denying the facts.

The firm defended itself against the allegations by saying that its palm oil supplier was a company called Cargill. But Greenpeace dismantled its defense by showing that Cargill was, in fact, an intermediary who supplied Sinar Mas. Therefore, Nestlé’s liability, albeit indirectly, continued to exist.

Memes, messages, and even a Kit-Kat logo modified with the word “Killer” flooded social media. In the following screenshot, you can see some of the messages that the brand received on its Facebook page.

Online Reputation Management Example - Kit Kat Case Study

Nestlé’s response was even more misguided, as they began to remove negative comments and issued a statement inviting disgruntled fans to unfollow their page.

The company’s shares continued to try to make a clean break from the crisis, but each new action only infuriated critical users even more.

Although Nestlé was slow to react, the crisis was resolved after holding a meeting with Greenpeace, abandoning the trade agreements with Sinar Mas, and changing its social responsibility policy in the medium term.

Nestlé is currently committed to meeting a list of environmental targets by 2020.

Lesson 2:  Denying the problem is useless.

When there are complaints related to the social responsibility of a company, active listening and a commitment to improving the company’s practices are the best solution.

#2. Hero Baby VS Samanta Villar

In this curious gaffe by the Hero Baby community manager, one of the protagonists is palm oil (yes, again!).

It all started with a tweet on the Hero Baby account in which, surprisingly, the brand’s voice attacked the Spanish journalist Samanta Villar, known for programs such as 21 days or Samanta Connection.

Example of a digital reputation crisis on Twitter

The journalist had already had her own reputation crisis after publishing her book Mother There Is More Than One, in which she recounted her experience with egg donation, and talks about the negative aspects of motherhood, according to the journalist, in order to break the taboos that exist on this subject.

Samanta did not hesitate and a few hours later she returned the ball to Hero Baby with this tweet:

Example of reputation crisis on social media

Suddenly, Hero Baby was faced with two open fronts:

  • That of the followers or supporters of Samantha.
  • That of users concerned about palm oil.

In fact, the brand had to issue two statements, one to apologize to the journalist, and another to explain the use of palm oil in its baby products.

Lesson 2: If you create controversy, it will always turn against your brand.

Another moral that we could draw is “Don’t mess with a journalist!” . Because in this case, the fact that Samanta is an expert in communication did not play in the brand’s favor.

If the journalist had entered the rag with the controversy, Hero Baby would have won the sympathy of those who criticized her book. What she did was simply pay them with her own currency.

Controversy never helps brands. The risk is too high and it is almost certain that the company will end up having its image compromised.

#3. Say it with Nutella! … Or better not

The well-known brand Nutella came up with a brilliant campaign. Users could send a message to share on the Nutella package label.

Say it with Nutella

But some users used the idea to pour nasty messages, to insult or, outright, to lash out at the brand.

So far it could be considered a miscalculation. A lack of foresight from the brand. In any case, the campaign was a success, the Nutella Facebook app gained 160,000 fans and 2,000 personalized products were purchased by consumers.

But weird things happened, like the fact that a 5-year-old girl named Isis couldn’t personalize her name tag. What could it be?

Finally, the censorship mechanism that Nutella enabled to prevent improper use of the application was discovered.

In the guts of the software, code were uncovered words that Nutella considered taboo, including, surprisingly, terms like “Lesbienne” or “Muslim.

Bad management in Social Media

The controversy was served! The news jumped to the press and social networks echoed the unfortunate incident.

By the way, the last image is a slide from a Maclau Posadas presentation. Can you see the word “huilepalm” in the code highlighted in yellow? Exactly, it means “palm oil”!

Three consecutive examples in which the controversial oil appears mysteriously. It’s pure chance, I promise! ?

Lesson 3: censorship is not the answer

Once a channel of communication with the public has been opened, applying censorship is very risky . If users perceive it, they may feel their freedom of expression restricted, and they are probably right about it.

Furthermore, while Nutella was intended to avoid problems, some of the censored terms cast a shadow of suspicion on the brand’s idiosyncrasy and values.

It also exposed a clear attempt to avoid criticism from users, giving an image of little transparency.

#4. Tulip and the recipe for discord

Reputation crisis in social media - Tulipán case

We go with another mythical brand, also from the food industry. Bloggers and influencers can be real assets to brands. But only if a single requirement is met: have them!

The fact is that Tulipán published a recipe on one of its web pages to attract traffic, 365 Tulipán snacks (it is no longer in operation).

A blogger named María Lunarillos complained because she saw how the brand published a recipe plagiarized from her blog.

But the thing is not here, because, in addition to plagiarizing the recipe, Tulipán added margarine as an ingredient, which meant an alteration of its ingredients.

The blogger voiced her complaints to the company, but they completely ignored her. So he wrote a post on his site TartasProvocativas.blogspot.com, a blog that no longer exists, and which redirects to the online bakery store www.marialunarillos.com.

Users began to echo, to share it on social networks and on their blogs.

The message that María launched is most clear:

Tulipán deletes the post that contained my photo. They did not respond or do anything with my comment, but they did when they saw that there are many of us and that we could damage their image. And it is that while they have «fans», we, the bloggers, what we have are «friends». Thank you very much to all! The pressure of all of you has caused the post to be deleted … But there are many more left! And they haven’t apologized yet.

In the end, the brand had to stand up and apologize publicly:

«Dear Tulipán fans, we would like to ask you our most sincere apologies. Due to human error, some images have been published and their use has not been correctly reported. We apologize again, we are reviewing all our photos and we hope to correct the error shortly. Thank you”.

Lesson 4: create original content, or involve users in your content

To begin with, Tulipán’s statement apologizing to his fans has many shortcomings. They did not mention Maria, they expressed themselves in an unclear and evasive way.

It seems that there was no one with a contingency plan under his arm that surpasses what to do, nor with the necessary communication skills.

The moral of all this is that the brand must create its own original content. It is true that a Social Media strategy requires a huge amount of content to publish on the brand’s channels. But if you use third-party content, you need to cite the source.

Another alternative is to carry out a marketing action with influencers. In this way, the brand benefits from sharing quality content, and at the same time helps the content author to gain visibility. A full -blown win-win !

#5. Garnier and the Israeli soldiers

In 2014, a photograph of Israeli soldiers stationed in Gaza with Garnier products, apparently given away by the firm, resulted in one of the worst-faced online reputation management examples in recent years.

It happened on July 31, 2014, a few weeks after the outbreak of a bloody war between Israel and Palestine , as a result of a photo shared on the Facebook page of an association known as Stand With Us, which claims to defend the interests of Israel all over the world.

A genocide cannot be made up, no matter how much they want to. #BoycotGarnier pic.twitter.com/cgyxK1BFlI

As you can see in the tweet just above, campaigns with hashtags like #BoicotGarnier or #BoicotIsrael started to proliferate. Specific. #BoicotGarnier reached 150,000 hits.

In addition, several customers showed photos on Twitter with the return ticket for Garnier products.

Events are detailed in HuffPost .

Surprisingly, the group brand L’Oreal decided to keep quiet.

Lesson 5: keeping quiet is not a good alternative

To begin with, it is not advisable to speak out on such sensitive issues or to position yourself for one of the sides in a conflict of these characteristics. Especially when there is a whole human drama behind it.

Other brands cannot afford to be silent after a crisis like this, although it is never advisable to opt for silence.

What have we learned about how to manage online reputation in a crisis?

That palm oil is directly or indirectly related to many cases of the reputational crisis on social media ?

Jokes aside, I would like to recall the lessons we have learned from the management that brands have done in the cases we have seen:

  1. Denying the problem is useless.
  2. If you create controversy, it will always turn against your brand.
  3. Censorship is not the answer.
  4. Create original content, or involve users in your content.
  5. Keeping quiet is not a good alternative.

In the case studies we have analyzed, online reputation management is not very successful.

If you want to know now other examples of crises better managed by the brands involved, or know what you should do in an emergency, check the following posts!

And if you found it useful, share this post on social media! ?

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