Babbling B’s Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Vitamin IMC

This post appeared on VitaminIMC – Medill IMC’s student-run blog.

No marketing communications professional looks forward to the day they must navigate a company crisis. Toyota’s recent floor mat and sticky pedal safety recalls are the most recent examples of balancing damage control with open communications. The safety recalls and Toyota’s subsequent responses open the potential for major damage to their strong brand built on safe, reliable, high-quality vehicles.

Meeting the challenge head-on, Toyota launched a comprehensive PR strategy to address the situation openly and honestly. Their website, www.toyota.com/recall, includes updates on what’s being done to address the problems and has videos with more information for consumers—such as what to do if they experience trouble braking.

Adding to the open dialogue, Jim Lentz, President & CEO of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., apologizes to customers in a video on the site, closing by saying: “Once again, I apologize for the situation and I hope you’ll give us the chance to earn back your trust.”

The newly released television commercial echoes his sincere words, telling a story of commitment and painting a picture that highlights 172,000 Toyota employees’ dedication.

But will this campaign be enough to calm consumers after months of bad news? It took nearly 10 days for Toyota to launch this response strategy, and consumer perception has dropped to a new low. If they hope to uphold their brand values, Toyota must avoid additional crises and continue to create open and honest dialogue to fuel positive brand momentum.

What do you think? Can Toyota restore the faith in their company?

diving-boardThis post appeared on VitaminIMC – Medill IMC’s student-run blog.

While some companies are slowly dipping their toes into the social media waters, Whole Foods Market has dove in! Over the past eight months, Whole Foods’ social media presence has grown from corporate accounts to over 120 Twitter profiles and 97 Facebook pages.

Whole Foods is often cited as a social media success, but the details of its amazing tactics are what make them unique – taking a completely decentralized approach to their social media strategy. They have taken the close interaction between Whole Foods employees and consumers, along with team member empowerment and applied it to their social media strategy to create local relationships. This grassroots approach has fueled the explosion of their social media presence while supporting their corporate values system.

Their social media accounts range from umbrella corporate accounts to individual accounts for store locations. There are accounts that cover the many locations for metro-areas (think @WholeFoodsCHI) and topic-specific accounts discussing such topics as wine or cheese. They even created a social media presence around their participation at Bonnaroo.

Some may criticize such a fragmented approach to their social media, but Whole Foods learned from their experiences with their corporate social media accounts and expanded to fit their customer’s needs. They started to see that customers had very specific questions about local stores and quickly adapted, adding social media into the local marketing mix. Liz Bootz, the marketing team leader for Whole Foods Oakland, provides support to customers on Twitter. “One of the things I like best about being on Twitter is if a customer has a question, I can tweet the answer to them and provide that information to 200 other customers at the same time,” she said.

Other companies should follow their lead and apply unique company culture traits to social media, taking a personal and on-brand approach to their online presence. Their responsive, customer-centric method has seemed to work judging by the numbers. Whole Foods Twitter accounts recently reached one million followers.

The essential nutrient for healthy marketers

The essential nutrient for healthy marketers

A month or so ago, I was approached about possibly doing some student blogging for my graduate program. Well, it’s official, my post Skittles: Bite-Sized Attempt at Social Media is up! I have begun my blogging with Vitamin IMC, the student-run blog from Medill’s Integrated Marketing Communications Program at Northwestern University.

I’m looking forward to covering current business trends and stories from the IMC perspective. I’m also enjoying an intelligent and fun group that I can learn, discuss and explore blogging and social media – and attend all the fun events in the Chicago-area.

You can view the Vitamin IMC Blog at http://vitaminimc.blogspot.com, follow us on Twitter @VitaminIMC, or become a fan on Facebook.


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