the best communications tip i can give you at this stage... BP TOP executives... shut the fuck up and leave your position at once... any talking you do will make things worse for BP brand...
Two weeks ago, Steve Jobs published his now infamous “Thoughts on Flash” memo on Apple.com. Adobe has now responded with its own message, a message of “love,” “choice” and “open markets.”
In addition to the post on its own website, Adobe has also placed display ads (created in Flash, naturally) on Engadget and The New York Times, and taken out a full-page ad in The Washington Post outlining its position and what it thinks consumers should know.
While Apple simply posted a link to its “Thoughts on Flash” memo on the front page of its website, Adobe is going to much greater lengths to get its side of the story out.
Screenshots of the ad banners that are appearing on sites across the web:
Adobe’s Founders Speak
Chuck Geschke and John Warnock, Adobe’s founders, also penned their own letter, “Our thoughts on open markets”:
“The genius of the Internet is its almost infinite openness to innovation. New hardware. New software. New applications. New ideas. They all get their chance.
As the founders of Adobe, we believe open markets are in the best interest of developers, content owners, and consumers. Freedom of choice on the web has unleashed an explosion of content and transformed how we work, learn, communicate, and, ultimately, express ourselves.
If the web fragments into closed systems, if companies put content and applications behind walls, some indeed may thrive — but their success will come at the expense of the very creativity and innovation that has made the Internet a revolutionary force.
We believe that consumers should be able to freely access their favorite content and applications, regardless of what computer they have, what browser they like, or what device suits their needs. No company — no matter how big or how creative — should dictate what you can create, how you create it, or what you can experience on the web.
When markets are open, anyone with a great idea has a chance to drive innovation and find new customers. Adobe’s business philosophy is based on a premise that, in an open market, the best products will win in the end — and the best way to compete is to create the best technology and innovate faster than your competitors.
That, certainly, was what we learned as we launched PostScript® and PDF, two early and powerful software solutions that work across platforms. We openly published the specifications for both, thus inviting both use and competition. In the early days, PostScript attracted 72 clone makers, but we held onto our market leadership by out-innovating the pack. More recently, we’ve done the same thing with Adobe® Flash® technology. We publish the specifications for Flash — meaning anyone can make their own Flash player. Yet, Adobe Flash technology remains the market leader because of the constant creativity and technical innovation of our employees.
We believe that Apple, by taking the opposite approach, has taken a step that could undermine this next chapter of the web — the chapter in which mobile devices outnumber computers, any individual can be a publisher, and content is accessed anywhere and at any time.
In the end, we believe the question is really this: Who controls the World Wide Web? And we believe the answer is: nobody — and everybody, but certainly not a single company.
Chuck Geschke, John Warnock
Chairmen, Adobe Board of Directors.”
The “Truth” About FlashAdobe has also created a site (oddly not in Flash) that aims to set the record straight about Flash. The first thing you’ll notice is a big graphic that shows off Flash’s impressive reach across the web.
I don’t think that anyone would argue with the figures that Adobe has put out — the current dominance, or ubiquity, of Flash has never been the issue. Instead, the discussion has centered around which technologies will lead in the future, especially on mobile and CULV devices.
Most of Adobe’s responses to other areas of concern — including video, performance, touch and security — are more about what is being promised with Flash Player 10.1 and less about the issue at hand.
Flash Player 10.1 is arguably the most anticipated Flash release in Adobe’s history. It promises to bring Flash support to ARM devices — meaning that some Android phones like the Nexus One will be able to get what Adobe calls the “full Flash experience” — and hardware acceleration for video playback for more devices, which should improve overall performance and battery life.
We know Adobe is really excited about Flash 10.1, as it should be, because it’s shaping up to be a great release. However, we can’t help but be bothered by a rebuttal that essentially says, “all of this will be fixed with the next release,” especially when we’ve been waiting for this release for a really long time — a time during which content publishers have started to embrace alternative technologies.
Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners
This is a scandal that still reverberates throughout the world for claiming the lives of six Chinese infants and making 300,000 others ill with kidney-stone-related diseases. Even as recently as mid-February 2009, a quick Google search brings up articles fervently pursuing the issue of melamine and broader quality-control issues in China’s milk industry.
It was clearly the kind of public relations nightmare a company could never shake.
But nearly six months on, shake it did. Mengniu, which had its shares trading suspended on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Sept. 17, 2008, is now trading again at sustainable levels. Though nothing like pre-melamine highs of US$ 3.00–3.50, it is now hovering around the US$ 1.00–1.20 mark, after dropping drastically to lows of US$ 0.20–0.50 (Reuters, March 2009). “Mengniu’s sales are currently reported to be at roughly 70 percent of pre-melamine volumes, and come summer this year, they are expected to make a full recovery,” says Philippe Chan, Asia Manager for beverage industry consultants Canadean.
Unfair though it may seem to turn this into a “branding” or “public image” exercise for Chinese dairy companies, for similar fledgling export-driven industries China-wide, this is essentially what the crisis represents. Quality-control issues are not new for Chinese companies, but having to deal with them on an international stage is.
Mengniu has emerged healthy on the other side of this crisis, both from a quality standpoint as well as an image perspective. How did they do it, and are there lessons for other aspiring export-driven mainland companies in the Chinese F&B sector to learn?
Mengniu was ranked No. 3 among dairy enterprises in Asia in the Top 500 Brands poll of 2006 and was named “The Most Creative Enterprise” of China in March of the same year. Along with brand recognition, China Mengniu Dairy’s stock has appeared on a Morgan Stanley list of Global Top 50 Blue Chip Stocks until 2012.
Of Mengniu’s branding efforts, Chan says, “Mengniu wants to be a global player, and is interested in projecting a more international image.” They have an effectively bilingual website up and running, a move that has proven tricky for other similar-sized companies in China, that includes prudent information for consumers, trade customers and other interested users.
Dealing with the crisis
This, Mengniu did promptly and sincerely. On Sept. 28, 2008, the news page on the Mengniu website featured a release titled: “Solemn Guarantees From Mengniu Group,” and it proceeded to “genuinely apologize for the physically and psychologically affected consumers.” It guaranteed:
- a recall of all tainted baby formula
A dedicated crisis hotline was also set up in the immediate aftermath of the scandal to enable affected consumers to reach and receive assistance as soon as possible. There also exists a general information line that customers can contact with any queries regarding Mengniu’s products. This openness is very unusual in a mainland company, but also refreshing. Normally you are lucky to find any contact information on an official website, and if it works, you may as well head out and buy a lottery ticket! This “open policy” has the twin benefits of building trust with consumers who do use the service and building goodwill among those who do not.
Company spokeswoman and VP Zhao Yuanhua has also appeared frequently in the media, urging consumers to restore their confidence in Mengniu and also being open about the measures being taken to combat the crisis. In a November 2008 press release, she is quoted as saying, “we are going to guarantee the safety of raw milk…and build Mengniu (into a) time-honored brand.”
Late last year, Mengniu organized a site visit for consumers, journalists and health officials to its key Beijing facility, walking them through the improved proceedings and explaining in great detail how processes have changed since the scandal. Measures like this have certainly helped improve the Mengniu brand, at least in the eyes of the domestic market.
Opportunities in the aftermath
Mengniu, however, was not without its own opportunities in the aftermath. As per its corporate vision, “…building a world famous brand is a steadfast pursuance for Mengniu Dairy Group” and that it will continue to do, not just by upholding safety and quality standards but certainly also by milking a PR opportunity or two when it presents itself. As it readily admits in a recent press release, “During the crisis, people also see a brand new image of the Chinese dairy industry that has a stronger sense of responsibility and credit standing of trust.”
The video had been viewed more than 550,000 times by Wednesday.
For Domino's, the PR response hasn't been easy. The video reflects some of the worst fears consumers have about food purchased from restaurants. The video and discussion of it has moved on to Facebook, Twitter and dozens of other social-networking sites.
But Domino's is getting fairly high marks from social-networking and crisis-management gurus about its response.
And marketers are getting an instant lesson in the dangers of an online world where just about anyone with a video camera and a grudge can bring a company to its knees with lightning speed.
"Nothing is local anymore," Domino's spokesman Tim McIntyre says. "That's the challenge of the Web world. Any two idiots with a video camera and a dumb idea can damage the reputation of a 50-year-old brand."
An arrest warrant was issued Wednesday for Michael Anthony Setzer, 32, of Conover, N.C., and Kristy Lynn Hammonds, 31, of Taylorsville, N.C., for food tampering, a felony in North Carolina, police say. McIntyre says Domino's is mulling a lawsuit.
Here are key things experts say marketers can do to quickly catch and respond effectively to similar social-networking attacks:
• Monitor social media. Big companies must actively watch Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social sites to track conversations that involve them. That will help uncover potential crises-in-the-making, says Brian Solis, a new-media specialist and blogger at PR2.0.
• Respond quickly. Domino's responded within hours. "They responded as soon as they heard about it, not after the media asked, 'What are you going to do?' " says Lynne Doll, president of The Rogers Group, a crisis-management specialist.
very smart.. using same media
• Respond at the flashpoint. Domino's first responded on consumer affairs blog The Consumerist, whose activist readers helped track down the store and employees who made the video. Then it responded on the Twitter site where talk was mounting. "Domino's did the right thing by reinstituting the trust where it was lost," Solis says.
• Educate workers. It's important that all employees have some media and social-media training, says Ross Mayfield, co-founder of Socialtext, which advises companies on new media.
• Foster a positive culture. Workers who are content and customers who like your product are far less likely to tear down a company online, PR guru Katie Delahaye Paine says. "This would be a lot less likely to happen at places like Whole Foods."
• Set clear guidelines. Companies must have clear policies about what is allowed during working hours — and what isn't, Doll says. "It won't prevent everyone from breaking the rules, but at least they'll know what the rules are."
As a result of the incident, Domino's is looking at banning video cameras in stores, McIntyre says.
Managers facing crises as such consider the possible consequences of their reaction. On one side - reacting to uncontrolled events may foster further awareness to the problem. On the other side, ignoring such events may result in risking social legitimacy (the firm may be perceived as being irresponsible, dishonest, or acting in a manner that exhibits little concern for the community).
Bradford and Garrett (1995) investigated the effectiveness of five different corporate responses to a crisis event. The possible responses were (a) no response, (b) denial, (c) offer an excuse, (d) agree that the firm caused the event but argue that the severity of the event is less than publicized, and (e) agree that the event is severe and accept responsibility for the event.
The possible conditions were (a) the firm can provide evidence that they committed no unethical action,
(b) the firm can provide evidence that they had no control over the event,
(c) the firm can provide evidence that the event is less severe than suggested in the media,
and (d) the firm accepts responsibility for the event.
Across the different conditions, the “accept responsibility” response was found to be the optimal communication strategy.
Other research in this field indicate that consumer expectations about the firm (consumers with a preexisting favorable opinion of a firm vs those who lacked a preexisting favorable opinion - Dawar & Pillutla, 2000) and their commitment to the brand ( low versus high commitment - Ahluwalia et al. , 2000) moderates the effects of negative publicity.
In this week Domino’s Pizza crisis, the firm decided to react to the event (taking 48 hours respond). They have presented an apology, suggested information (both public and personal) and a promise for taking future steps. Interestingly, it chose unconventional media channels to confront their consumers, the same channels in which the crisis found its way through - social media interactions.
Consumer research will be needed to test consumers’ perceptions and behaviors in few months time. Currently, it seems that although the images were shocking, the company has succeeded in reacting well to the event.
Online trend tools indicate that the buzz around it lost an interes...
Description of the crisis:
On the night of April 13, two Domino’s employees engaged in an act of food violation posted their acts on YouTube (putting cheese in their nose, blowing mucous on a sandwich etc). The videos went viral online, viewed by millions of people until blocked.
Reactions to the crisis:
1. The employees were fired and warrants were issued for their arrest.
2. Domino’s has also posted a statement on its corporate website.
“The opportunities and freedom of the internet is wonderful, but it also comes with the risk of anyone with a camera and an internet link to cause a lot of damage, as in this case, where a couple of individuals suddenly overshadow the hard work performed by the 125,000 men and women working for Domino’s across the nation and in 60 countries around the world.” .
3. On an interview with Domino’s Domino’s spokesman he says: “Nothing is local anymore, that’s the challenge of the Web world. Any two idiots with a video camera and a dumb idea can damage the reputation of a 50-year-old brand.”
4. The company decided not to issue a press release. Dominos spokesman was interviewed on that: “the company can deal with tens of thousands of impressions, but a strong response from Domino’s would alert more consumers to the embarrassment.”
5. The company shared an an apologetic e-mail from the employees: “It was all a prank and me nor Michael expected to have this much attention from the videos that were uploaded! No food was ever sent out to any customer. We would never put something like that on you tube if it were real!! It was fake and I wish that everyone knew that!”
April 15: Domino’s activated social media activities:
6. In a YouTube video, Patrick Doyle, president of Domino’s USA, apologizes for the incident, and describes the steps his company is taking to ensure such an incident doesn’t happen again.
“We sincerely apologize for this incident, we thank members of the online community who quickly alerted us and allowed us to take immediate action.
Although the individuals in question claim it’s a hoax, we are taking this incredibly seriously.” Moreover, he said that the Conover srore has been shut down and is being sanitized from top to bottom and promises to make sure “that people like this don’t make it into our stores.”
6. Dominos started social media activity on twitter (under the username “dpzinfo” - it receives 1425 followers as for today).
With public information and personal twits (for example: “Most of our stores are designed so that anyone in the lobby can fully see the food prep area.”) information on the brand and on preventive acts are presented.
Examples of other corporate crises:
1-Johnson & Johnson’s response to the Tylenol incident - 1982
An unknown terrorist spiked Tylenol capsules with cyanide which resulted in seven deaths. Media coverage made it clear that Johnson & Johnson had no control over this post manufacture product tampering, suppressing any Could counterfactuals.
The actions taken by Johnson & Johnson were considered as highly effective:
The company recalled extra-strength Tylenol from all store shelves across the country, offered a reward for the murderer, and introduced a tamper resistant package. In this case, although the brand’s market share fell sharply (from 35% to 8%), it has recoverd within a year.
2-Jetblue flights cancellation
3-Alleged defects in tires manufactured by Firestone
4-Gene-spliced corn contamination of Taco Bell products
5-Benzene contamination in Perrier bottled water
6-Racial discrimination by Texaco in the promotion of employees
7-Burger King Employee Takes Bath In Sink
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