People make mistakes -- after all, we're human. But when companies make them, people take even more notice because those errors usually offend their values or directly involve their money. No matter whether it's a misunderstanding, a faux pas, or a blatant disregard for the public's perception, it's tough to apologize for a major mistake and expect people to simply forget about it. That didn't stop these five brands from trying, though.
Whether for good or for bad, finely textured beef -- known as "pink slime" -- was used as an additive in most of the ground beef in the U.S. over the last 10 years. Although reputable newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post wrote about the possible dangers associated with the additive, the food industry continued to use it. That was until March 2012, when ABC News reported that "pink slime" was treated with ammonia.
As you might expect, the report and an unappetizing picture of the product went viral online, resulting in a PR firestorm for the company that manufactured it and the food industry. As expected, consumers became more concerned with what they were eating and food companies vowed to discontinue the use of "pink slime" in their meat. Beef Products Inc., a manufacturer of the products, responded by creating a Beef is Beef website.
(Image source: Beef is Beef)
Although Beef Products Inc. tried to offer the public the truth behind its product, people dismissed it. As a result, the company shut down three of its four manufacturing plants.
Not a People Connection member?
I found your report a great reminder that placing your head in the sand does not help any negative or negatively perceived problem. My firm and I are in the Tampa Bay area and for the last 3 years have been helping companies with reputation repair. While you mentioned national brands, I can assure you that local brands have even greater impact in that they cannot afford a bad local reputation. Not that any company wants to lose revenues, but a local brand can easily become bankrupted based on bad choices in management or not protecting themselves from disgruntled ex employees or devious competition. My firm Peak Reputation, Inc. accelerates the public repair, but also offers strategy and implementation into strengthening the online perception of the brand prior to the crisis!! We have seen so many companies who have their heads in the sand lose what they have built in years in just days. Warren Buffett has a quote that exemplifies this: "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."
Full Summit Calendar | Request Invite
1 9 Facebook hacks that will blow your mind
2 7 deadly myths about big data
3 The best social media campaigns of 2014 (so far)
4 The most meaningless (and hilarious) job titles on LinkedIn
5 Destructive marketing habits of major brands