Yesterday Kelloggs (US)voluntarily recalled a variety of cereals due to a strange odour. But how are they faring with regard to online crisis communications management?
Viewing the Australian Kelloggs website there is no mention of the recall yet Australians hooked into Twitter and reading about the recall will be wondering this morning if their cereal is affected.
Now on to Twitter… there is certainly a lot of chatter this morning from consumers regarding the recall (see below)
Interestingly, it does not appear that Kelloggs have an official Twitter handle with which they could certainly respond and keep consumers updated hour by hour.
I certainly hope in the least they have claimed their Twitter name or we could see someone having fun with the Kelloggs brand in the next few hours and day ala BP style.
Update! the Twitter handle looks to be taken by a consumer not the organisation view twitter handle – the last entry is about basketball! I have followed this character to see what unfolds in the coming days.
It is still surprising when organisations are not claiming their name or using Twitter as an online crisis communication tool. Back in 2007 when writing for Freshchat I noted the use of Twitter for this purpose but back then this Twitter thing was still reasonably new. Today no organisation can claim that Twitter is new or untested.
In fact only recently in Australia the ACCC encouraged Australian food companies to embrace Twitter and other web 2.0 mediums to get the message out to consumers – Twitter has indeed gone mainstream.
The Fruit Loops Community Page on Facebook will certainly be pulling in some negative comments over the next few hours so you would be hoping that Kelloggs are monitoring that page as will the Honey Smacks page. This is a good lesson for organisations – even if you don’t want to have a Facebook prescence Community Pages exists so at least monitor those and get proactive on the site.
The company also has a Froot Loops application on Facebook so it will be interesting to see if any messages appear via this mechanism (this is one of the cereals recalled).
Quick search of YouTube on the subject – nothing as yet although news reports regarding the recall have already appeared right now a statement from a Kelloggs official on youtube would be recommended but will they respond? it is possible that creative types might have a field day with the recall so expect to see some humorous videos on this channel in coming days.
Bloggers – yes they will be out in force and already there are murmerings about the cereal recall so let’s hope Kellogg’s have their social media monitoring in place and their blogger relations under control. Here’s one recall blog post I quite like regarding the quantities recalled.
Let’s not forget Online Forums and it is evident that the US ‘mommy forums’ are already quite active which you may expect but less obvious forums such as Pirate 4×4 (for offroad vehicles) are also discussing the recall and by nature the product itself.
Google Trends (in the US) is showing Kelloggs Recall as number 2 only surpassed by the World Cup. It is interesting to note that no adwords have been purchased at the current time.
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Naturally the issue is hitting online news sites and The Huffington Post have a nice wrap up including integrated Twitter feed.
Lessons for Online Crisis Communications
1. Use a variety of online platforms to get the message out – a simple line on your website simply does not cut it anymore
2. Claim your name in all the online platforms to ensure no spoofing of your brand occurs particularly during a crisis
3. Local organisations should monitor the international situation and quickly get a message out on their websites that local stock are not affected (if this is the case) we are clearly operating in a global economy.
4. Twitter is a vital online crisis comms platform – understand it and use it in a crisis. Develop and stick to a relevant hashtag.
5. Don’t leave it till a crisis occurs to integrate online comms platforms into your existing crisis comms plans
6. Have a good social media monitoring system in place and monitor it regularly
7. Research what terms people are searching for online and ensure they are incorporated into your content strategy. Understand the basics of SEO – if you are a communicator this is critical.
8. Buy adwords for the key terms to ensure that your messages get through. Ensure your link sends consumers directly to your recall page.