Visa for crisis communication with FIFA

visa_fifaUsing the momentum created by FIFA’s scandal many NGOs triggered campaigns for more transparency and implemented actions to highlight sponsor’s responsibility. Massive mailing campaign to the sponsor’s CEO was a tool used by some NGOs. Simple, but clever, when someone receive thousands of questions about his company’s CSR… When the mailbox is saturated in few hours, you can easily consider that you are confronted to a crisis management. But how to answer (or not) and to keep calm?

It’s interesting to compare some FIFA’s sponsors behaviors in this specific case. It reveals a lot about common mistakes. Let’s focus on three main archetypes of reaction:

1. The McDonald’s way

“Let’s stay silent, maybe they will not notice that we don’t care about them…” That’s how a silent answer can be perceived from the customer point of view. Silent isn’t gold in this case, as you are no longer involving with your customers and send a very negative image, being out of range for them. It hurts even more that a company like McDonald’s is usually looking for important social involvement. So whatever happens, be a manager and keep talking with your customers.

2. The Coca-Cola’s bubble

I am out traveling for work meetings until Friday, June 5. But just because I am working, don’t let that stop you from having fun–getting outside, active and THIRSTY… See, a good, cold, delicious Coca-Cola product can take care of that thirst, so stock up and enjoy!

Well… That’s a nice and funny out of office reply, but a bit out of the blue, when it comes to crisis management. Here the consumer doesn’t feel that the company is out of his range, but he can think that there is nobody to drive the company. A bad image for the customer, but also for business partners.

3. Visa efficiency

Thank you for reaching out to me regarding Visa’s sponsorship of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). As stewards of the Visa brand, my management team and I take seriously our responsibility to reinforce with Visa’s sponsorship partners the need to operate in a transparent and ethical manner. You will see that reflected in our public statement below, which we issued earlier this week. Please know that we greatly appreciate hearing your voice and perspective on this important issue, and will work hard to ensure that the Visa brand continues to reflect the core values that have fueled its industry leadership for nearly 60 years.

Finally! Here is a strong statement about customer’s involvement and their role in brand building. The press release goes further: “Our disappointment and concern with FIFA in light of today’s developments is profound. As a sponsor, we expect FIFA to take swift and immediate steps to address these issues within its organization.” Interesting. We can just hope that statements will be followed by steps in real life. Brand building is also a matter of trustworthiness, but that is another chapter.

Keep it fairplay and ask your favorite penguin if you have any doubts.


Let’s get social (the branding world #2)

pinterestWhen it comes to social media, many companies are scared or simply copy the stuff designed for traditional medias. Please, don’t! To build a strong brand, it is essential to create a genuine relationship with your customers and/or partners. And to do so, use the proper communications tools for each channel. Can you imagine to promote a product in Chinese in an English speaking country? No, of course. Here are some easy tips to follow.

1. You don’t have the resources to manage your own ‘onliners’ team? Don’t worry, there is a plenty of amazing guys that can help you. For example, Lipton promoted its sparkling ice tea thanks to a well known youtuber:

The result is a not too expensive video and have created a small buzz online. But the main strength of this approach is that the brand identity can be customize. If in a store Lipton’s products are linked with your granny kitchen, here – online – they look much more younger and funnier, which is the aim for a sparkling tea can. If you have different market shares, don’t hesitate to adapt your strategy using social media.

 2. You can’t afford to manage your customers’ negative reactions online? Of course, social media can be ‘dangerous’. As in real life and even faster, customers can spread a bad opinion about your company. But the trick is that you have the same advantage to rebuild your image! For example, when a man criticize on Facebook your advertising for a menstrual pad:

Well done, isn’t it? Of course, not every CEO is ready to be involved… But, turning the weakness of being on Facebook into a strength is certainly a very good idea to show to your customers how much you care about their reactions. In that specific case, showing that you are funny enough to be realistic about your own products and their advertising is a perfect solution to create a kind of complicity with the customer.

 3. You can’t or don’t want to plan a complex online strategy? Social media are even more created for you! For example, Sephora created a really strong trend on Pinterest. People can share products’ pictures on their boards directly from the brand’s website. Nothing complex, just pictures to advertise. This ‘simple’ approach created a large community – some hundred thousands followers – which is an important provider for the online shop traffic.

Sephora's Pinterest

If you’re looking to show a broader image of your company or products, visual contents, as displayed on Pinerest, are an easy solution to do so. It can even lead to completely rethink your business, as for GoPro getting media.

So don’t be scared by social media, simple solutions exist for your first steps online and don’t forget to keep it cool and fun. If you need some advices, don’t hesitate and get in touch with your favorite penguin!