Ford, Southwest, Pepsi and Coke are demonstrating the value of social media (Sm) in managing reputations and customer relationships (see Wall Street Journal Theory & Practice piece).
These sophisticated marketers are building professional Sm teams and capabilities to promptly and thoroughly identify, manage and avert potential crises, all while keeping valued customers satisfied:
1. Ford — quickly responded and managed a negative situation with a popular Ford Ranger fan website and members who emailed Ford 1,000 critical email overnight. The Ranger site owner believes his relationship with Ford has improved.
2. Southwest – listened to passengers' reactions on Facebook and Twitter after an emergency landing. They heard mostly positive comments and then used that information to Tweet compliments about its customers and crew's great work. Southwest has been a leader in using Sm to build its customer relationships.
3. Pepsi – heard and responded quickly to a Twitter critique of a trade magazine ad perceived to support suicide.. The Pepsi global Sm and digital media director apologized on his personal Twitter page. This inspired Pepsi to launch a Twitter profile for its Tropicana brand. (Although is it smart to name the profile "The Juice," as that's the nickname for steroids?)
4. Coke – spotted a frustrated customer's Tweet about being unable to redeem a MyCoke reward prize. His profile claimed to have 10,000 followers. Coke apologized on his profile and redeemed his prize. The customer's Twitter avatar now features a Coke bottle.
So, what's the takeaway?
Sm's evolving listening and responding technology can help marketers manage a reputation and avoid serious damage and resulting business disruption.
And remember, like any crisis, you need to have tools and guidelines in place to respond immediately in a caring, open and authentic manner.
So sharpen up your reputation/crisis management strategies and plans, and be ready to accelerate your brands' responses to keep customers happy, your reputation intact and business growing.
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