All Crises Are Social Media Crises


Orangutans are at the center of a crisis for Nestle.

It has been a difficult day for Nestle.

They have been attacked on many fronts because of allegations that some of their products (the Kit Kat candy bar in particular) contain palm oil that is grown in a way that endangers rainforests.  Greenpeace created a rather graphic video featuring the Kit Kat that shows an office worker biting the severed finger of an orangutan.  The organization has called for a boycott.

Nestle has released it own official statement about its palm oil practices.

The controversy has spilled onto social media networks, most notably on Nestle’s Facebook page and on Twitter.  Bloggers are also now weighing in.  Unfortunately for Nestle, its Facebook spokesman got too emotionally involved with some of the back-and-forth with critics, which too be fair is only human nature in action.  Nestle seems to have recovered its composure – and the deserve tons of credit for engaging publicly.

But contrary to many reports – this isn’t a social media crisis.  Far from it, in fact.  This is a corporate crisis that has extended into the social media sphere.  The lesson here for other companies is simple: Almost ALL crises spill onto the Web.  That’s the nature of corporate crises in 2010. And that’s why when companies are preparing crisis plans they need to consider the online and social elements as well.

It’s now a crucial component of any crisis strategy.

At this point, all communicators need to realize that there’s no offline or online.  It is now the same thing.  When you are communicating these days you need to do it clearly and effectively through every channel – including social media channels.

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2 Responses to “All Crises Are Social Media Crises”

  1. how can you defend nestle after what they have done? that’s pathetic!!!

  2. I’m not making any judgments about Nestle and its business practices nor am I taking sides with Greenpeace. I don’t know enough of the details to do so.

    I’m simply discussing the communications and social media aspects of Nestle and how they reacted to the crisis.

    It is in my opinion that after a stumble, Nestle has done a very good job and should be commended for engaging with critics and fans when a lot of corporations would have circled the wagons.

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