In recent news, a Facebook user named Chioma Egodi Jnr expressed dissatisfaction with Nagiko Tomato Paste bought for cooking.
In her own words, “I went to buy tin tomatoes yesterday that I will use to make stew. I didn’t see Gino and Sonia. So, I decided to buy this one. When I opened it, I decided to taste it. Omo! Sugar was just too much. Ha, biko, let me know if you have used this tin tomato before because this is an Ike gwuru situation.”
She shared this viral review on Facebook on September 17, 2023, which has gotten more than 3900 comments since its publication. However, the company responded by denying and condemning the review and subsequently seeking Chioma’s arrest. Source: Punch.
In a statement, Erisco stated that its attention has been “drawn to a Facebook post by one Chioma Egodi Jnr on September 17, 2023, alleging that Nagiko Tomato Mix, one of Erisco Foods Limited’s three tomato paste variants, contains an unhealthy amount of sugar and is thus unfit for human consumption.”
“We will take all necessary actions against any malicious attack on our reputation.”
Now, while as of today, September 29, 2023, it has been confirmed that the lady has been granted bail and released, the netizens seem to have been completely outraged by the response of Erisco Foods Ltd. Source: Tunde Irukera.
The question is, could Erisco Foods Ltd. have done better as a brand? From a brand management perspective, we want to share some valid opinions here.
It is never a good thing for a brand to be seen as fighting its consumers. Your consumers are supposed to be your allies, not opponents, because without them, you don’t have a business. See also: How to turn an angry customer to a brand advocate.
Negative feedback and bad publicity are not always detrimental to a company’s reputation. Such situations can provide an opportunity for the company to display its authenticity and effectiveness in addressing customer dissatisfaction.
By employing effective communication, demonstrating empathy, and implementing proper customer relationship management practices, a company can efficiently handle negative feedback and convert disgruntled customers into brand evangelists. So, instead of getting agitated over negative feedback or bad PR, companies should use it as an opportunity to strengthen their relationship with customers.
According to Lekan Ajayi of BrandCrunch, negative reviews can provide valuable feedback to a company, highlighting areas that require attention. Instead of arresting the customer, the company could have engaged with Chioma Egodi to better understand her concerns and take steps to rectify the excessive salt issue in their product.
In December 2022, a Nigerian automobile company, Innoson Motors, got into a similar situation, and here is how they responded instead.
As a brand, you will always face situations where an angry customer or client will confront you or even go to the public to share a bad experience about a product or a service. Brand building doesn’t end with nice marketing and advertisements. It is a continuous activity of listening to your target consumers, building trust with them, bonding with them, and maintaining your reputation in the market. See also: Brand Positioning & Differentiation Techniques for Startups.
The real proof of solid brand leadership is seen in how you handle situations, especially when there is a crisis. Your ability to see a problem and deal with it before it becomes an emergency is the real hallmark of leadership.