Introduction: Social Media – Boon or Bane?
With the increase in the horizon of Social Media, various organisations and companies have seen how the online communication can improve or shatter their reputation. Crisis Management and PR practices are being tested and various new ways of handling online communications with stakeholders are being tested and created. Though traditional ways of communication and media practices tend to remain useful and more effective than the new ones in social media. Facebook, Youtube and Twitter are the growing social media websites and they provide some growth of the relation between Stakeholder’s communicators and marketers who carefully need to use tactful ways of communication. This is necessary as any kind of difference could create a negative impact on the company’s reputation or Brand image. The best example could be Nestle’s case against Greenpeace.
Nestle, which is one of the world’s largest manufacturer and supplier for food products, is always involved in numerous issues related to environmental issues, ingredients use in the products, economic issues and import and export. Greenpeace has attacked few of them with the hope to improve the company’s practices and turn them into a company, which is eco-friendly. One such accusation is the use of palm oil in Mars, which caused mass deforestation in Indonesia, and with the help of social media(Facebook and Youtube) this controversy was put online for the world to know. Nestle’s irresponsible act of sourcing palm oil from Indonesia led to a downfall in its Brand name. Later on, on demands of the Greenpeace and other activist groups Nestle had to change its sourcing which wouldn’t have been possible without the help and constant questioning on social media.
Two Marketing Concepts widely spoken about in this case are ‘Reputation and Crisis Management’. Reputation can be regarded as a reflection of a company’s past doings and Future promises or vision that would speak a lot about the company. Reputation is built on the information they receive from the organization and media and get other information (Second-hand information) through word-of-mouth, blogs, Media etc. During a crisis, the damage the company or the organization bears is basically based on the assumption of responsibility of the crisis situation. When the crisis is intentional the company responds not through action but through communication.
Greenpeace, before taking the initiative of the social media campaign, had considered speaking to Nestle to stop the sourcing of PALM OIL from Indonesia who were intentionally destroying the Indonesian Forests, but Nestle kept mum about it.
Greenpeace then used social media, as it would provide more impact in catching Nestle’s attention. Greenpeace used advertisement campaigns, social media campaign and on-the-ground activism with its main target being the Offices and AGMs across Europe particularly UK. They put up a video clip on Youtube showing an...