Proactive + Reactive = Pre-active?

A humble message reassuring consumers on social media should have been Maggi’s crisis management entree. What Maggi did? Left its social image to bite the dust! While some would say, that the brand’s reactive social media strategy backfired, I feel that being proactive wouldn’t have helped either.

Being proactive or reactive are two things when the context is social media marketing.

Reactive is when you are listening – something most brands are seen executing on social platforms.

Listening to understand and use the information for future purposes is called being proactive – a diluted concept for most Indian brands.

While the reactive approach works well for retaining existing customers, proactive approach – that is creating content, thoughtful listening and data-driven approach is best suited for customer acquisition.

Let’s get pre-active

Globally, brands are known to bank on pre-active approach – a combination of functionality principles of proactive and reactive marketing approach. Pre-active marketing works  for  both worlds.

What could have Maggi done?

Maggi responded with a more or less curt message insisting that there are no harmful chemicals.

Instead, the brand could have come up with a Twitter-driven initiative, calling out to supporters and restoring their faith in the product again. Imagine a virtual candle light vigil on Twitter.

Once, the lead was confirmed, Nestle needed some serious damage control measures. As a pre-active brand, Maggi could have created a digital video commercial, that reflected honesty and a promised comeback.

The simplest solution would entail an open letter on social media. A heart to heart from Maggi’s CEO to its customers, instead of a press release, would have been so much better.

Similarly, with the pre-active approach, KFC could have handled the fried rat situation with a reverse solution. A fun post on the lines of – If we had to sell a fried rat, we would initiate KFR (Kentucky Fried Rat) in the countries where rats are considered a delicacy.

Well, they haven’t missed the bus yet. So let’s just hope KFC makes an amazing gesture to win the trust right back.

Be it addressing consumer queries or offering content for engagement, the pre-active approach will help in creating the right fit at the right time. To regain faith, brands need to vacant God voice and mask a human face.

While the pre-active approach is apt for Indian brands today, the future beholds mortal thinking. After all, no brand is immortal – with social media, moreso.

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