I’m living in London for a little while and Kit Kat bars here taste way better than they do back in New York. I’ve actually had friends ask me to bring them back for them. I’m really bummed though because after 25 years of eating Kit Kat bars, I’m not going to buy them anymore.
On Friday, you gave the world a shining example of how brands shouldn’t behave online. It’s a tough break that you were very publicly called-out by Greenpeace for being a contributor to rainforest deforestation. However, your Draconian response of bullying YouTube into taking down the “Have A Break?” campaign video and insulting your fans and detractors on Facebook has lead to an unmanageable PR nightmare that was totally avoidable.
All you had to do was say, “We’re sorry. We’ve heard and share your concerns and are working with Greenpeace to find ways to fix this problem as soon as possible. Please visit nestlecares.com or twitter.com/nestlecares to follow our journey towards sustainability.”
Nestlecares.com would have cost you $7.49 on Godaddy and a Twitter profile is free. I found you a promo code (cjc749fat) to get the discount on the domain, which usually costs $9.99. It only takes 30 minutes to set up a Tumblr blog and Twitter profile and there’s no hosting costs.
In 15 minutes a day, you could maintain both sites by posting updates on your commitment to sustainability, ie ditching your palm oil vendor or your efforts in Tanzania to increase coffee yield for farmers while maintaining sustainability standards. On days when you didn’t do anything, you could post interesting content related to sustainability that you find while researching how to make your company better.
Admitting fault is endearing and makes a corporation like you guys seem a bit more human. When Anssi Vanjoki, #2 at Nokia, publicly apologized for prematurely releasing the N97, which had some pretty substantial bugs, and announced a commitment to fixing the problems as quickly as possible, he bought the company a lot of good will with jilted consumers. Instead of owning up to your mistakes, you insulted your Facebook fans and tried to navigate your way out with corporate doublespeak.
By the time you posted a press release about your commitment to become fully sustainable by 2015, it was way too little, way too late.
A big part of being social online is actually being social. If you were at a party and someone took 30 minutes to respond to a question and then insulted your grammar and walked away, you probably wouldn’t want to talk to them again. If you had simply said “We messed up” the moment Greenpeace posted their campaign it might not have gone viral, and your customers would be focusing on your commitment to sustainability instead of dead orangutans… which are not cool with the urban influencer and early adopter markets these days.
2015 feels very far away and kinda seems like lip service. However, daily updates on your quest to sustainability would make your efforts seem a bit more real. You had a really great opportunity to rebrand your company one day at a time by creating really great content about sustainability.
I don’t know if you totally missed the boat, but it kinda seems like you did. I’m only one guy, but I used to love eating Kit Kat bars and was going to bring back like £20 of English ones for my friends in New York, but now they’ll have to wait until 2015. Sorry, guys.