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Nestle is a European confectionery manufacturer which upset a lot of people on Friday. Actually it upsets people quite often, it's a big business, they do that, all of them. But on Friday it annoyed people through its Facebook group, and I'd kind of assumed that wasn't the idea of these groups.

To backtrack a little: the company has sourced palm oil in ways that ecologists like Greenpeace don't much like. So they've adapted the logo of one of the company's biggest selling brands to make an impression.

This was all fair in love and commerce so far. Then some users of Nestle's fan page on Facebook started using the offending logo as their avatar. Nestle asked people not to do so - and when the backchat started, they made a crucial mistake and started getting sarcastic, answering back. There's a report from British publication New Media Age here, which pretty much says Nestle screwed up completely.

I'm not so sure.

You see, although the Internet is considered a great leveller, a brilliant democratiser, and it is both of those things, it also exists in the real world. Forget all that hype about Cyberspace being like the Wild West - the laws of slander, libel and copyright may be more difficult to enforce on the Web than elsewhere, and international boundaries might blur them, but they exist.

And people were, on Nestle's own page, abusing an image trademarked by the company. No, the organisation didn't ask them to stop with the negative comments, that was allowed - it just asked them to stop playing with an image it owned.

Yes, whoever was in charge could have responded better to the backchat. But that person works for the company rather than for the customers, and it's the company's intellectual property that was being defaced.

Sometimes in business and as an employee you have to do things which won't make you all that popular. For my money, Nestle's earlier moves to control its brand was among those things. By all means let's join fan pages of all of our favourite suppliers, but let's never forget they're on duty and they aren't going to start behaving like one of the gang.

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Last Post by albertwigs
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'That person works for the company, not for the customers ..' Without the customers there would be no company. When companies take the attitude that they are only there to please themselves and their shareholders, they don't deserve to have any customers. From the way you've described it, I would say it's the way in which Nestle went about asserting its rights, not the principle of it, that was key. The person 'could have responded better to the backchat' - er, well, yes, if someone is given the task of contributing to/nurturing/moderating an online community, that should be one of their core skills! If you're a multinational trying to 'do' Facebook, you have to accept the way the community operates may not always be to your taste. Otherwise, stick to the press releases.

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Up to a point. If your community, though, is subverting your trademarks and refusing to back down when approached politely, you work for the company.

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But it's not Nestle's page, it is actually Facebook's page. If they are not prepared to take criticism along with positive conversation then they should bail out of social media entirely and move into safer marketing space where they can have total control of the message. One aspect Facebook users appreciate is having a voice and Nestle completely mishandled this by threatening users with taking that away. They have now turned what could have been manageable into a PR disaster.

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CSS6, this is my point. They were OK with the negative comments. It was the abuse of the trademark in which they'd invested that they were objecting to, on a page they'd set up. The negativity, the complaints about their policy on palm oil, was something they were OK with having on their page.

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Point taken and I would hate for that to happen to my company too. Unfortunately, it's not enforceable and courts have ruled on the side of protestors on similar cases in the past. This whole incident, despite the moderator's motive, is just bad communication. They could have handled in a better way that may have accomplished their goal (or at least minimized use of the altered logo). I think, in the end, you have to evaluate the result of the move and the result is that they failed to stop the logo abuse and exacerbated the problem.

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I think we're in agreement here. What I'm less comfortable with is the entirely hostile coverage they've had - when they were only protecting their trademark on their page (they didn't make any requests about people using the defaced logo elsewhere).

But yes, there are many better ways of handling it.

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Maybe they made a mistake on their approach using social media. Because on our part it is working perfectly.

Edited by leahmarie: n/a

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Maybe I'm missing something here but isn't disseminating your logo as far and wide as possible a good thing? Everyone still knew it was Nestle's logo, it wasn't being stolen and used to promote another company... so I don't really see the problem.

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Aren't there rules protecting satire? Or is this clearly a case of defamation?

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Social media marketing is the process of promoting your site or business through social media channels and it is a powerful strategy that will get you links, attention and massive amounts of traffic.There is no other low-cost promotional method out there that will easily give you large numbers of visitors, some of whom may come back to your website again and again.

Edited by albertwigs: n/a

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