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IP Quick Intellect

Monkeying around with Nestle

Posted by on 30 Jul 2015

For most companies, social media is a powerful communications and marketing tool. It enables them to reach a mass audience within a relatively quick timeframe and at minimal costs. However, for some individuals social media is being used as a sword to name and shame or to air their complaints, criticisms and grievances. 

As a business owner or manager, you need to respond to customer complaints made on your social media platforms. Your response needs to be timely and appropriate. The response shouldn’t be driven by emotions, be defensive, late or inappropriate as this may only add fuel to the fire, exposing your business to a social media crisis. It could also cause more damage to your brand than the original complaint. Caution should definitely be the order of the day if you decide to rely on strict legal rights to demand the removal of a post, tweet etc – removal can also escalate the situation into a social media crisis.

Take for example the situation Nestle faced in 2010.

Greenpeace posted an online video that featured a worker accidently biting into an orangutan finger instead of a Kit Kat. At the time, Greenpeace was having an ongoing battle with Nestle over its supply chain. The video included unauthorised and altered use of Nestle’s Intellectual Property including its logos.  Nestlé asked Google's YouTube video site to remove the video on the basis of copyright infringement – a move that not only angered Greenpeace supporters, but increased the number of posts online worldwide.

Greenpeace supporters then changed their profile pictures to an anti-Nestlé logo and posted boycotting Nestlé messages on Nestlé’s Twitter and Facebook page. Nestlé attempted to regain control by deleting these comments, posting “To repeat: we welcome your comments, but please don’t post using an altered version of any of our logos as your profile pic — they will be deleted.”

This response exacerbated the situation and resulted in a social media crisis.

The best way to ensure your responses don’t result in a social media crisis or damage your brand, is to have a plan in to place to manage complaints and criticisms. A plan will help you communicate the right message to the right audience. 

On Thursday 6 August 2015, I am hosting a breakfast on managing social media risk. Nicole Matejic, a social media and crisis communications advisor, will be sharing her tips on how to manage your social media to avoid it managing you. I am looking forward to Nicole’s presentation and hope to see you there. For more information please visit the Social Media Breakfast Briefing event page.

For more information on how to safeguard your business from a potential social media crisis, or to speak with one of the lawyers in Coleman Greig's Brand Protection team, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us on 02 9895 9230, or via

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