As with any industry, there will always be challenges and risks with taking a brand social. To not take a brand social would also be risk considering how many consumers rely on social media/search and mobile applications. “Many companies are just now starting to take a serious look at the benefits of social media in business, and they are looking even more closely at the risks involved, such as fraud, theft, defamation, cyberbullying and invasion of privacy among others” (Social media and its associated risks, 2011).
This brings me to an example about Kraft. Since they are in the food industry, do you remember seeing on Facebook the video that went viral about Kraft cheese not melting? If you haven’t watched the video, STOP. Watch this video and continue to read…
Now, that you have watched the video, this is an example of how a product and brand can be destroyed within hours. Because this video went viral, anyone that had a social media account was able to see this video. Can I also add that I was also one of the people on Facebook to SHARE this video and I now do not eat Kraft. Period.
Kraft then created a YouTube account called ThanksforAsking to make up for the cheese video, but Is this too late? Take note – Kraft also made sure they disabled the comment box.
Food companies face increased risks from social media because they still do not have developed policies for tools such as Twitter and Facebook, according to the law firm Roythorne. More on this article here.
Another challenge to this is the food being bought in the grocery stores cannot be tracked. Meaning, if Sally from Kansas finds mold in her Childs Capri sun, Capri Sun will not see this until it is viral. The brand also runs the risk of no longer being sold in certain stores due to the issues that occur.
Not taking a risk or going social means a brand could fall behind. Without repetition or promotion, how can a brand really exist? I understand that it is new so it is hard for a brand to take the risk, but it’s probably a bigger risk to NOT try social media.
Surprisingly, a brand that doesn’t use social media or traditional marketing is Trader Joes. According to Mark Gardiner, a previous employee and marketer writes: Over half a million people have liked the unofficial Trader Joe’s Fan page on Facebook, and if you enter “Trader Joe’s” as a search term on Pinterest you’ll come to a page that you can never really see, because new pics are being pinned faster than you can scroll. (OK, that’s a slight exaggeration, but you get my point.) No wonder some devil’s advocates ask: Why should Trader Joe’s bother with social, since the company’s fans already do a fine job of spreading the word, sparing it the expense of hiring another manager?
Trader Joes uses face-to-face interaction and they pride themselves on being extra friendly and personable. Meaning, they make their environment so people enjoy going in to socialize with the employees that work there.