If you didn’t know, Nestlé have had a rough week, which I detailed yesterday.
Today’s post is a continuation: What should Nestlé do now? It’s easy to say what they should’ve done – but now that they had this mess on their hands, what is the way forward?
I’ve got 4 steps for them, that if they do, I believe could turn this around for them:
1. The Focus: Change Perception
I said yesterday that it no longer matters what the facts are. The whole sitution was sparked by a Greenpeace video that claimed Nestlé were using a certain oil from a certain supplier that was destroying rainforests.
Whether this is true or not is irrelevant.
Because whether or not Nestlé do or don’t use that oil, people now only perceive that 1] they do use the oil, and also that 2] Nestlé are covering up, doing Social Media badly, and only care about profits.
Ask yourself: how do you know, for sure, that Nestlé buy this certain palm oil? But that doesn’t matter – because you perceive that they do, and we believe that if the crowd perceives it, then it’s probably right.
Of course, many people don’t even know about the palm oil part of the story. They just know that Nestlé have been tragically managing their Facebook page.
Hence their focus now should not be to change the facts. Their focus must be to change perceptions. A hard job.
2. The Concept: Match Spreadability With Spreadability
The protesting against Nestlé is viral. I’ve been discussing the qualities of ‘viral’ in a series of studies on Spreadability vs Reach. Direct reach is what broadcast media is all about – the number of eyeballs they can get their message directly in front of.
Spreadability, however, is not about direct reach, but about the ability for a message to spread organically from eyeball to eyeball, based on the nature of the message (exemplified in this case study on the Rage Against The Machine vs X-Factor).
The campaign against Nestlé, and subsequent anti-sentiment, is spreadability. Nestlés poor response was to issue a press release – a direct reach tactic – that simply does not match the power and the spreadbility of the campaign against them.
The solution for Nestlé lies in creating a spreadable campaign to match the spreadable campaign against them.
3. The Change: Fully Embrace Social Authenticity
Nestlé have two options.
They could ignore it all. Most people don’t know what’s happened online, and it will blow over in a number of days. That’s the nature of Social Media. But Nestlé will not able to get away with it a second time, because Social Media will have grown.
The better option is to embrace it all. Nestlé must realise that the three parts in this terror, 1] the video, 2] their poor handling and 3] the public backlash, all stem from an inherent Social disconnection on Nestlés part, both ethically and relationally. Nestlé are in denial.
Nestlé, in the face of this total Social disconnect, denial and inauthenticity, must fully change and embrace Social Authenticity. This is not a fake authenticity. This must be a full, repentant and sincere turn around.
Only fully embracing Social Authenticity will change the perceptions about them.
Only fully embracing Social Authenticity will create the necessary spreadability to match the spreading protest against them.
Ask yourself: if Nestlé issued an unprecedented style of apology, and took an unprecedented level of action, wouldn’t you take notice?
4. The Execution: A Campaign Of Transparency
To embrace Social Authenticity, Nestlé must do what people believe it is not doing: be transparent.
Being transparent means being open about its practises, and also open about what people think about it – the second of which they lost through censoring the comments. My campaign woud be thus:
First: I would suggest they create a nestlereviews.com website, similar to ASOSreviews.com. This website shows the sentiment that people have about them. This act would show the sincere change in Nestlé, and highlight that they are no longer censoring, but want to know what people are saying, and provide that info back to the public – even to their own detriment. A bold move that demands attention. They then set a goal to shift this sentiment.
Second: They need to become personal and not corporate by filming videos of themselves openly apologising and stating their change – with no excuses or further waffle. This shows that they are no longer trying to hide.
Third: A campaign to change their ethics, over a period of time. On the back of the first two suggestions, this would be the place for Nestlé to educate people on how they aren’t as bad as people to perceive to be. The point is that no one is wiling to listen at the moment, so the first steps must be carried out to earn people’s attention again.
- A nestlereviews.com would cost them no more than £30,000.
- A smart Social Media consultancy to assist them for a little while – let’s be generous and allocate £80,000.
- Posting regular videos (firstly the apologies) and then updates on their progress (which they have already in their press releases) – no more than £20,000.
- Changing their policies on palm oil: already happening.
- Apologising: swallowing a lot of pride.
- Total: £150,000. Social Authenticity doesn’t cost much. It just takes reality.
I’m not saying Nestlé are or are not ethical. I don’t know. I do expect people think they are worse than they are due to the hype. But the point remains that if they are indeed ethical, no believes they are. So they must shift perception before they can educate.
Only an exceptionally strong move by Nestlé can turn this around – hence my plan above. If they did this, with sincerity, it could be a turning point in their organisation. But it won’t happen overnight. They have years of bad vibe to shift.
I expect some of this is controversial. With all the anti-Nestlé sentiment, a suggestion that Nestlé can resolve this probably seems blasphemous. But for me, this only illustrates all the more that what they face is a highly emotive and spreadable protest that can only be addressed through an equally spreadable and compelling campaign.
More importantly, what do you say? Would you go with this plan if you were Nestlé?