How 3 Top Brands Handle Their Online Reputation

Online Reputation

Everyone wants to learn from the best. In online reputation management, that means drawing lessons from industry leaders. In this article, we’ll examine some tools and tricks used by three giants in the soft drink space: Nestle, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi-Co. 

All three companies have weathered uncounted storms, emerging as titans in their respective fields. The market has shifted considerably in the past twenty years and is no longer applicable to the internet age. TVs, billboards, and print ads have given way to streaming platforms, banner ads, and social media. This article will review how three of the best have adapted.

But, before we begin, it’s important to remember that these are companies with multi-billion dollar valuations. While they can afford in-house online reputation management departments, most firms cannot. Fortunately, for small and medium-sized businesses, bespoke online reputation management firms like BRANDefenders exist to protect and enhance your business’s online reputation. Online brand reputation management is too important to leave to chance. Give your business an edge over the competition with BRANDefender’s comprehensive online reputation management system. 

Take a Seat at the Table

The old adage that silence is golden does not apply to the internet. You simply cannot afford not to engage with the public. Both social media and more traditional PR outlets are indispensable tools for increasing brand awareness, driving consumer engagement, and reacting to scandals and other unsavory news items.

As the good folks at Pepsico’s digital lab aptly note, it’s vital that you have a social media presence on at least one of the major platforms. You should go beyond the bare minimum and claim a social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. 

This will help you be more accessible to more consumers and prevent someone else from claiming a piece of your digital real estate. Imposters and pranksters are risks that every company faces in the digital sphere. The low barrier to entry on most major social media platforms is a double-edged sword. Defensively claiming a profile for yourself means you’re heading off trouble well in advance. 

Of course, you don’t have to go it alone. BRANDefenders is an industry leader in online reputation management with years of experience safeguarding client brands across various social media platforms. 

Co-Create

While many people are afraid to ask for help because they believe it will lead people to question their competency, psychological research has shown the opposite to be true. When you ask for assistance, you’re more likely to be viewed favorably by the person you’re asking.

Coca-Cola has taken full advantage of this effect. When moving into the South-East Asian market, Coca-Cola knew its traditional flavors and marketing strategies might not bear fruit. In response, it tapped a group of prosumers, or partner consumers, to adapt its product and strategy to the local market. Social media’s global presence allows companies to hyperfocus on certain aspects of their brand by engaging directly with local communities.

Nestle has used co-creation to engage social entrepreneurs in Mexico City. Like many large corporations, Nestle has built up its online reputation via community engagement. While more involved and less direct than traditional social media campaigns, community engagement is a fantastic way to create positive associations between your brand name and worthy causes.

In the purely online sphere, Nestle has taken action to engage with its consumer base. Nestle knew it had to take action to revitalize its customer base after becoming stagnant in the UK market. It accomplished this task by partnering with members of the youth demographic. Through social media outreach, Nestle received valuable feedback on what new flavors to infuse into its popular KitKat candy bar to lure consumers back into the fold. This highly successful campaign transformed a flagging product line into a power hitter.

Handle Criticism with Grace

nestle and kitkat

The customer isn’t always right. Emboldened by anonymity, some social media users will be less pleasant online than offline. While growing frustrated by poor treatment is easy, it’s important to remember that how you react will determine your online reputation. 

In recent years, Nestle has come under fire from various environmental groups for its stance on bottled water. While it’s easy to grow frustrated, Nestle has elevated its brand by taking a disciplined stance towards such criticism. Nestle’s social media department has uniformly treated such harsh criticisms with polite and well-thought-out explanations for the company’s behavior and the real environmental impact of its choices.

Handling criticism without coming off as defensive or rude can be a difficult skill to learn. That’s where BRANDefenders come in. BRANDefenders have the experience and expertise necessary to defuse irate customers. Don’t let social media intimidate you. BRANDefenders exist to keep your online reputation in tip-top shape.

Social Media Responsiveness

It’s not enough to simply have a social media presence. If you’re not engaging with your customers on social media, you’re leaving money on the table. Consumers are increasingly likely to take their complaints to Twitter and Facebook. From the customer’s standpoint, it’s both more convenient, and consumers are aware that by reaching out publicly, they’re putting you in the spotlight.

A mishandled complaint can serve as a warning sign to prospective customers. However, in the age of viral posts and screen captures, a deftly handled problem can reflect positively on your business. For example, Pepsico took advantage of the viral hashtag #BringBackCrystalPepsi by engaging with fans on social media and eventually bringing back the popular soft drink for a limited time run. Companies with a poorly maintained social media presence will find it difficult to capitalize on such trends.

Create Positive Associations

Coca-Cola is the king of creating positive associations between its brand name and worthy causes. In 2018, Coca-Cola caused a splash with the hashtag #worldkindness day on its social media accounts. Now, you may be asking yourself what this has to do with soft drinks? Not much. But, it has a lot to do with creating a positive brand identity.

How consumers perceive your brand goes well beyond the quality of your product or service. In an age of high consumer standards for ethical business decisions and culture, customers want to see businesses engaging in uplifting and constructive behavior. Business leaders understand that they play a leading role in the cultural discourse. In a media environment saturated with negativity, Coca-Cola understands that it can stand out by promoting a simple message promoting kindness.

Coca-Cola isn’t alone in understanding the power of positivity. Pepsico has embraced a positive message with pep+, the branding for Pepsico positive. By committing to a sustainable future for the planet by partnering with local communities, Pepsico has done a fantastic job of standing out in a crowded marketplace. Pepsico understands that consumers seek brands that embrace popular trends like inclusive and sustainable agriculture, low-carbon supply chains, and community-based partnerships with small businesses.

Craft your Message to the Social Media Channel

Viral tweets are short, pithy, and oftentimes downright hilarious. On Instagram, carefully choreographed photoshoots carry the day. Meanwhile, Facebook is well suited to longer, miniature essay-length posts. We’ve already established that successful businesses will engage their customers on all the major social media platforms. Now it’s time to talk about how you can appropriately tailor your message to best engage the users of each social media platform.

social media channels

Coca-Cola has used various trending hashtags to deftly promote itself on Twitter. By partnering with trending athletes, popular television shows, and celebrities, Coca-Cola has managed to keep its products in the limelight. Meanwhile, PepsiCo has had a great deal of success using Instagram as an avenue for community engagement.

With an active and expanding user base, Instagram is the perfect avenue for learning and engaging with your consumers. Also, by differentiating based on location, Instagram allows companies to directly interact with local markets. This is important because consumers in Brazil will have different needs than consumers in Iceland. 

Perhaps you head a less globally aligned business. It’s still important to keep your fingers on the cultural heartbeat. There’s no easier way to lose customers than to act against the zeitgeist. An aptly timed post can propel your brand name in front of millions of consumers. How this influences their behavior largely depends on how well you’ve tapped into current sentiment. 

Conclusion

Take a page out of Nestle, Pepsico, and Coca-Cola’s playbooks. Tailor your brand to each social media platform, use the power of the internet to co-create with fans, maintain a constant social media presence, and handle criticism with grace and equanimity. Don’t forget to stay positive on social media! Finally, don’t be afraid to contract out the heavy lifting to an online reputation management firm like BRANDefenders. Do what you do best, and let the experts protect your online reputation.

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