Can One Bad Tweet Taint Your Brand Forever?
Jack Neff / AdAge
Hundreds of messages on the boards at PampersVillage.com have criticized changes to Pampers Cruisers in recent months, but a closer look shows an outsized portion of them came from a couple of posters.
Social media might be all about big numbers, but in a surprising number of marketing mishaps, a relatively small handful of people were the sparks that turned into online brushfires.
But finding the spark and acting on it can be two different things. It’s often unclear who has the authority to beat down the blaze even when marketers can spot the early warning signs. It isn’t always clear what is the right course is to take. And sometimes, even when marketers do take substantial steps to satisfy an unhappy customer, it still isn’t enough.
In many respects, the way Procter & Gamble Co. handled a complaint by Rosana Shah, a Baton Rouge, La., mother last fall, might seem a textbook example of how to prevent a social-media problem. When Ms. Shah called P&G’s consumer hotline to complain that changes to Pampers Cruisers were causing more leaks and diaper rash for her daughter, P&G agreed to send her a check for the two boxes of diapers she’d bought, plus enough to cover two more boxes if she would agree to send her original diapers back to the company.
But Ms. Shah later discovered that other parents who had similar experiences hadn’t been treated as well, which she considered unfair. She also felt P&G should have told people about the changes (a 20% thinner, 20% more absorbent diaper) which are actually part of what the company is billing its biggest diaper improvement in 25 years.
Subsequently, Ms. Shah became a regular complainer on Pampers’ message board and the organizer of a Facebook group dedicated to bringing back the old Cruisers. The group now numbers more than 200 members, many of whom have no personal complaints about the diapers but feel P&G acted unfairly.