When a crisis strikes a brand (which it inevitably will) wouldn’t it be great to have a data-driven tool to help you successfully navigate it?
Having and managing crises is part of running and managing a brand, whether you are Pepsi trying to defend your ad with Kendall Jenner, United Airlines after videos of a passenger being forcibly being removed from your planes go viral, or LaCroix being accused of distorting the definition of natural. When questionable decisions by brands get made in today’s climate, consumers will take you to task faster than ever, and how marketers react can make or break brands and careers. So, having a data-driven tool to help monitor and understand what your consumers are feeling and thinking with real-time data could literally be a career saver.
Let’s look at LaCroix, one of the first brands to reinvigorate the trendy seltzer category, who happens to be facing an issue of their own. A class action suit against LaCroix and its parent company, Natural Beverage Corp, claims the corporation’s drink tested positive for synthetic compounds, including linalool, which is used in cockroach insecticide. The horrible idea of having cockroach insecticide in your seltzer went viral on Twitter. LaCroix’s response? They boldly asked the Twitter-verse to defend the brand. A bold move but based only on the hope that their relationship with their consumers was strong enough to move them to action. While some loyal consumers did defend them with sentiments like “Live, Love, LaCroix”, in the end, the company’s profits slumped to 39.6 percent, their revenue fell 2.9 percent, and its i-Factor® score is only a 36. Real data in real time could have helped the brand understand what their consumers were thinking about the issue and allowed them to respond in a way that could have potentially strengthened the relationship.
In a more dramatic crisis, videos of a passenger being violently dragged off an overbooked United Flight circulated the internet like wildfire. With virtually no understanding of their relationship with consumers, United stood by the actions of the crew. Eventually, after getting attacked by consumers on social media, they issued a cold, reluctant and way-too-late apology. This sparked an intense backlash and boycott threats, which ultimately forced United to take full responsibility and make the apology that it should have made immediately after the incident. But it was too late for many consumers. Consumer perception dropped to a 10-year low, reinforced by their low I-Factor® score of 25. Had they been able to monitor their data in real-time with a tool like I-Factor, they could have seen just how bad the sentiment was much earlier and made the correct action immediately to monitor and manage consumer reaction. This could have prevented the loss of thousands of customers and millions of dollars.
Another brand going through a rough time is one of my favorite brands, Peloton. They’re facing an ongoing $150 million lawsuit from the National Music Publishers’ Association for copyright infringement. The result? Much of the music and the workouts associated with that music are gone from the Peloton bike and treadmill. As a very loyal fan, I’ve personally seen other loyal Peloton fanatics complaining as relentlessly as they once advocated for the brand, about the significant downgrade in music quality and variety. Others are saying workouts “just don’t flow like they used to.” Personally, I am sad about losing some of my favorite workouts I had bookmarked for whenever I needed a real pick-me-up. And what was Peloton’s response to this? A letter from the CEO of Peloton, John Foley. The letter stated that, “While you may notice this in the near term, I can assure you that this will not affect your experience with (or the cost of) our service, or access to the kind of music you’re used to hearing behind our instructors in the thousands of classes in our library.” Was this enough? Based on their current I-factor score, 30, maybe not. I believe there’s a better way to navigate this messy situation in real time, and I-Factor is exactly that.
As these brands continue to grow and change, they will continue to face PR problems, but our I-Factor tool can help. It lets you measure brand Irresistibility and consumer relationships in real time, so you can see if your campaigns are actually driving the kind of results and chatter that you are hoping to get. And with I-factor’s social listening component, your brands can get a score based on what chatter is happening on social media that quantifies the sentiment of your relationship with consumers, not just if the tweets are positive or negative. It can help you figure out if the problem is getting worse or is only a blip in time. You can also pull together every post that mentions your brand and try to find ways to respond to them in real time, with the insight of an overall score that shows you how each individual tweet is affecting the relationship.
In my opinion, had UBER been using I-Factor as they went through a series of unfortunate incidents, and truly understood how their consumers felt and what they wanted, they may not have had such a poor showing at their IPO. And their low real-time I-Factor score of 21, on the day of the IPO would have told them what to expect.
Bad PR is inevitably going to happen to brands, particularly for those that are growing quickly, taking risks, and trying to reach a broader spectrum of consumers. The key is managing that PR, and shifting your brand messaging when necessary – and that’s where I-Factor really works its magic. Want to find out how I-Factor can help your brand bounce back? We can help.