How not to do Social Media – Orangutans 1-0 Nestle.

23 03 2010

The focus of this blog is to report on how technology is hopefully assisting to improve our lives in work and as we play – or is it? News this week has highlighted how our wonderful information highway, the internet, and the huge growth in social media needs careful management by corporations. Every corporation has been jumping on the bandwagon to open their own “FaceBook fan page” without, in same cases, not setting up clear policies of roles, rules, response guidelines, escalation policy etc. It appears that the role of setting up social media in many corporations is handed out to junior level staff, as after all, they are the Gen Y who “understand social media”…

Latest victim of the “how not to do social media” is Nestle. In case you missed it FaceBook’s Nestle Fan page has been swamped by critics voicing concern over palm oil use, deforestation, orang utan’s lost habitat etc. Nestles response was a lesson in poor social media relations. The social attack was most likely kick-started by via a Greenpeace campaign that highlighted Nestle’s use of palm oil in its chocolate products. Nevertheless, some fans on the Nestle site responded by editing the Nestle logo for their own identity. Rather than turning this into a positive, and perhaps responding by quickly staging a competition for the most creative edited logo, they responded aggressively, defensively and rudely. The Nestle response then fuelled pages of disgruntled “fan” comments.

Clearly Nestle have shot themselves in the foot. On all points they should never have embarked on a social media program without fully training staff on how to monitor, respond etc. Corporations are jumping into this arena without clearly thought out strategies on management nor recognizing that they must accept good and bad comments…

Clearly the quick fire response gave the corporation no time to consider how best to manage. A few hours of research could have informed this person on some alternative responses. Turning a negative into a positive would have been by far the best approach.

Every Nestle executive should be aware about the growing world concern over the consumption of Palm Oil. Acres of rainforest are being lost each day, as companies, cut, slash and burn to make way for more palm oil production. This is causing a huge environmental issue in Borneo/Indonesia where it is not only changing their climate but resulting in the lose of this unique habitat for orang utans and other rare species (and people who live in these forests). Orangutans and other animals/plants are thus facing extinction – in Sumatra it could be as soon as 2012-2015. A positive approach – such as other food manufacturers are choosing – is as follows.

To stop buying palm oil and using alternatives – YES, it makes the product more expensive – consumers need to understand that. But if the majority of consumers are asking a food manufacturer to change their ingredients, it is a point of consideration which could be turned into a big positive for Nestle.

Another approach, as is being led in the UK, is buying palm oil only from sustainable palm oil
corporations (example: Sainsbury’s). Palm Oil farms exist, so why not encourage those corporations to continue to grow on the SAME land and not go for the cheaper, easier option of forever using virgin land… In Australia a huge majority of school kids and parents lobbied their favourite food manufacturers to change their purchasing of palm oil. The companies listened (Nestle take note) and responded positively – a win win situation for all.

This will surely become one of the main “how not to do social media” case studies for years to come – the orangutans plight may yet still win through.

p.s Nestle have since made a public statement confirming that they are “taking all feasible steps to impact our suppliers to assure that we don’t buy palm oil which contributes to deforestation.” They furthermore add they will be buying from certified sustainable palm oil producers – good news??? Yes and no. They commit to do this by 2015 – it may be too late for the Sumatra orangutans who face extinction around that time.


Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival, July 2010

14 03 2010

A quick plug to announce the 12th Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival will take place between 9-11 July 2010 at the Sarawak Cultural Village, Santubong, Kuching, Borneo/Malaysia.

International musicians from around the world will gather to perform diverse ethnic music in a living museum known as Sarawak Culture Village. This venue is set amongst a unique setting of lush rainforest greenery at the foothills of jungle clad Mount Santubong, a stone’s throw away from the beach resorts of the Santubong peninsula. The festival aims to attract ardent fans of music from all corners of the world.

Its formula of afternoon informative workshops, ethno-musical lectures, jamming sessions and mini concerts, followed by evening performances on the main stage has proven to be a hit with the audience, in the past.

Volunteers play a key role, assisting with the various tasks at the event. The organisers, RWMF, are once again looking for people to help at this year’s show. If you are interested to be a volunteer, you need to complete their Volunteer Application Form and by 31st March 2010. See their web site for more details: