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Author's profile photo Celia Brown

A Social Media Strategy to Save Brands…and Lives

Surprisingly, many companies dread the day their brand is trending on Twitter—in particular if it’s due to a product recall or safety issue. Companies are increasingly turning to social media to limit legal risk and maintain consumer loyalty when a product-safety issue arises.

/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/360_291434.jpgDriven by regulations, threats of litigation, and increased public awareness, companies are working harder than ever to ensure they’re prepared to manage the communication strategy critical to surviving a product-safety recall. Strong brands, including Toyota and Similac, have managed to survive massive recalls. Businesses are learning from those examples and others to build recall solutions that leverage social media to engender trust and loyalty within their own customer communities.

Social Media Saves Lives

Ted Sapountzis, head of marketing and product management at NextPrinciples, recounts the story of a client in the pharmaceutical industry that faced exactly this issue several years ago. Consumers of one of the company’s over-the-counter medications reported a serious safety issue through social media. The incident quickly spiraled out of control, resulting in damage to the company’s reputation and a very costly recall process.

In hopes of being better prepared for a repeat situation in the future, the company implemented NextPrinciples’ Social Analytics and Engagement Platform. As a result of their improved social-listening strategies, they were able to detect a potentially lethal product-safety issue and rapidly and efficiently roll out a product recall to their consumer base, preventing what could have led to loss of human life.

The Business Case for Social

Saving lives? Reducing liability and risk? Generating new leads? Increasing customer satisfaction? It’s pretty clear that social media is—or should be—core to the business in today’s market. Sapountzis believes that “for most companies, social is still a silo. But businesses today are scrutinizing investments in social. It’s no longer sufficient to commit ‘I’m going to get you 10K followers.’ You need to build a viable business case.”

Social media needs to be fully integrated into a complete 360-degree view of the customer. Why? Because today, the customer is omnipresent in multiple channels and devices, expecting instant responses to proactive outreach to a brand—in particular when leveraging a social media platform. And customers expect to receive consistent messages as well as an integrated approach to communication across channels and devices.

This approach, when executed successfully, will provide insight and engagement opportunities throughout the customer life cycle. Social interaction should not be limited to marketing and sales but should extend to all customer-facing roles to enhance customer satisfaction and retention ongoing. And social listening offers valuable insights to brand voice, risk management, and performance at all levels of the organization.

NextPrinciples is a member of the SAP Startup Focus program. SAP launched this global program to help promising startups in the Big Data, predictive and real-time analytics space develop new applications on SAP HANA and accelerate market traction. To date, we have engaged with almost 500 startups from 55 countries in industries as diverse as gaming, retail, finance, and manufacturing.

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