The recent row between Mondelez India Foods and a food influencer- regarding the health benefits of Bournvita has caught the eye of the advertising industry and consumers alike. The minute-long reel, which raises questions about the health benefits of Bournvita, had amassed almost 12 million views. Revant Himatsingka (Foodpharmer), the influencer who made the video denounced the presence of sugar in Bournvita along with claims of “cancer-causing” ingredients, before he had to take down the reel after being served a legal notice by the company.
The management’s handling of the Bournvita fiasco turned out to be a true masterclass in what not to do for crisis management as a brand. Everything has been in the company’s favour so far. And the final touch to this crisis is the action by the child rights body National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) which asked the brand to pull down its “misleading” ads and submit a detailed report.
In its defense, the company says that the video created panic and anxiety and questioned the trust that consumers have bestowed on brands like Bournvita. With an abnormal and unusual amount of traction on the post, the brand was constrained to take legal recourse to avoid misinformation. Cadbury also issued a statement on social media to clarify and share the correct facts and address the concerns of their consumers.
Cadbury’s row isn’t the first time a brand has had to deal with outrage at the expense of de-influencing, a phenomenon that describes influencers demoting a brand through their content. In fact, many influencers today actively warn consumers about the ills of using certain ingredients or products, whilst promoting their preferred alternatives. This has posed an important question in front of the industry: How can brands effectively handle influencers, whose content might “de-influence” potential consumers? Moreover, what should the appropriate communication strategy be in such cases?
Social media drills and dynamics:
In the age of social media, brands need to work heavily on crisis management strategies to navigate any controversies that may blindside them. Social media is a dynamic world and can possibly bring to the forefront crises that brands and advertisers may never be able to ascertain as to what they are and where they stem from.
Advertisers should in the first place-be respectful of free expression and understand the audience’s sentiment. Assess the crisis stage- whether it’s multi-channel, fake news, social activism, or industry-related, and chart out strategies to counter each type of crisis, which will benefit the brand in the long run. It’s crucial for brands to respond with empathy, authenticity, and transparency, and ensure that they don’t alienate any portion of the audience.
Transparency is in fact the most crucial aspect for brands here. Brands need to be open and honest with their audience, to ensure that their trust and credibility are maintained. This need not be limited to just an official statement or a post in a crisis but through regular updates. Remember- having strong check models in place with transparency about the manufacturing process can also help in managing false accusations or misinformation.
Bring in a human connect:
Brands are typically bound by legal teams, who have designed responses ready to counter different crises well in advance. While it’s imperative to have these measures ready, brands typically forget that consumers need to be dealt with a certain level of sensitisation.
Brands need to give a human face to the crisis and address it head-on. In fact, brands can bank on the other influencers, advocates, and stakeholders in their campaigns who could play a crucial role in building a positive reputation and responding effectively to any crisis.
Coincidentally- it was the personal connection that precisely helped Cadbury during the worm scandal years ago. They got Amitabh Bachchan on board to offer his emotional monologue as the brand’s response and this worked wonders for their reputation and crisis management.
In today’s age, consumers are more conscious about what they consume and the impact of the products on their health. They expect brands to communicate with them openly and honestly. It is important for brands to maintain a sense of trust and credibility, to ensure they build a base of loyal consumers, who help the brand grow and flourish.
At 3 Dots Design, we are backed by a team of experts who understand the art of effective communication and branding. Being one of the best ad agencies in Pune, we have a team of well-experienced content writers, graphic designers, brand managers and digital experts who help your brand deal with any crisis that may come your way. If you wish to know more about who we are or what we do, please visit www.3dotsdesign.in or get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org