Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Social media Case Studies: from Innocent to Nestle


by Kathryn Richards

The Greenpeace viral campaign, consisting of a “mock” Nestle advert, illustrating the effects of the use of Palm Oil in Nestle products, was undoubtedly a success. The video (after being removed from YouTube by Nestle and re-posted on Vemeo) has been viewed over half a million times on YouTube alone.

The rather shocking and gory video will definitely make you think twice about “taking a break” and tucking into your mid-morning Kit Kat.

Interestingly it was Nestle's reaction and their use of social media, not the Greenpeace video success that caught my attention (See our previous post for more on this real time tools- vital in managing a crisis).

Oh's like we're censoring everything to allow only positive comments" is just one of the unpopular comments posted by Nestle on their Facebook page.

Their sarcastic and often rude reactions to the comments on their Facebook group triggered a huge media backlash and (somewhat unsurprisingly) many disgruntled and angry “fans”.

The Nestle website, funnily enough, doesn’t link to any Facebook/ Twitter/ blog or social media account from its home page (however, to be fair, you can request an immediate “call back” from its customer service team). The most exciting part of their site is the recipe section designed to showcase their products- which hopefully conveys to you just how uninspiring the site is.

Let’s compare this example with that of Innocent Smoothies. After customers started complaining about a particular product on their blog, they responded not with defensive remarks – but a new product range.

We like conversations, because they’re two way and if they’re good, you learn stuff. Basically, if there’s a new way in which our drinkers want to communicate with us, then we’ll get involved.” Innocent founders on Social Media.

The Innocent website is a true picture of the SEO ideology “content is king” - a regularly updated, interesting blog, twitter stream, YouTube channel and Facebook page. Not to mention their e-mail marketing- filled with apparently random but very cool links such as “the world’s poshest tree house” or “singing chickens”, all cleverly positioned next to “re-tweet” icons.

As for Google, type in “smoothies” and there’s Innocent, at number 1.
Nestle? Strangely, you’ll have to work a bit harder. For the word “coffee” you’ll need to trawl through to the second page to see Nescafe. Type in “chocolate”…10 pages of results later you’ll still be searching.

Innocent’s online presence- based on conversation, rather than providing a platform for complaints to pile up- is increasing both their very loyal customer base and their sales. Their established image and culture (environmentally friendly, young and healthy) certainly gives them the upper hand (compared to a huge multinational formerly associated with numerous corporate responsibility scandals) – and allows them to develop and push the use of social media.

Sadly, with Nestle, this seems to be just a case of damage limitation.

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