Should Nestlé blog Greenpeace accusations away?

Publié le avril 18, 2010

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Richar Laube, PDG de Nestlé

Dear diary, I used to wonder why some companies keep a blog like some teenyboppers keep a diary. Now I know.

Approximately 50 to 60 percent of blog attacks are sponsored by competitors who use blogs as weapons to unleash hordes of critics on their business rivals.
From Nancy Flynn’s book "Blog Rules"

Is there anything more embarrassing than competition? Yes. Influential advocacy groups.

Greenpeace doesn’t like aperies

Who hasn’t heard of Greepeace latest PR stunt?
Four days ago, Nestle made public – via their website – a letter to Greenpeace. The PDF document listed the steps taken by the largest nutrition and foods company in the world to help fight deforestation in Indonesia.
It looks like Greenpeace wasn’t too impressed by the ultra-formal tone in the PDF. On its blog, the advocacy group explains that Nestlé kept reciting the same arguments. Irritated by this formalism, Greenpeace activists invited themselves to Nestlé’s annual meeting. Dressed as orangutans, they paraded in front of  2640 shareholders. This later represent 56.762 percent of the shares entitled to vote.

Dear Diary, Nestlé doesn’t keep a journal

As soon as Yahoo reported the affront, I rushed to Google to get Nestlé’s personal opinion. My first reflex was the blog, not the website… I googled: "Nestlé Blog" and the first result was: "Boycott Nestle". Ouch! It is actually an anti-Nestlé blog. Since the other results weren’t Nestlé-owned content, I concluded that the leading nutrition company doesn’t have a blog. If they really have one, it’s well hidden. No. They don’t have a blog but their detractors do.

I had to rely on Nestle.com. The top story published yesterday was "Nestlé chairman calls for a moratorium on deforestation". I skimmed through it. No allusion to the incident. I would have loved for Nestlé to have a blogger that wouldn’t be too shy to break the ice. But I have to admit, it takes guts.

Nestlé Annual Meeting... as seen by Nestlé

On its website, Nestlé hosts journalistic articles and press releases (or spam to bloggers). The only thing is no one wants to read official statements anymore. When the public demands honesty, some corporation give blogs.
And precisely, Greenpeace has a very well-documented blog in top of that.

Nestlé Annual Meeting... as seen by Greenpeace

On its blog, Greenpeace reports their attack with humor! According to Laura – the blogger who reported the incident – "the security guard couldn’t quite get the gate closed fast enough to keep the orang-utans out – although he did put in a gallant effort". I can picture her bursting out laughing as she tells the rest, "obviously he doesn’t have a lot of experience dealing with animals." Even if Nestlé made an interesting coverage of their Annual Meeting, the company has totally ignored Greenpeace intrusion. To see the coverage discrepancy, you can only take a look at photos from Nestlé and Greenpeace account.

The questions I have asked myself:
- Could a blogger have prevented Greenpeace from putting Nestlé at shame?
- Could a blogger prevent Greenpeace’s attack to further remove the seeds from Nestlé’s reputation?

I wonder why Nestlé doesn’t create a blog with posts about concrete actions taken to fight deforestation. Real stories on real people would prove real actions… if any.
I must admit that I am not better than Nestlé. Since I have opened my blog, I have often hidden my opinions behind a formal tone. Past! It took many conversations with different people for me to change my writing style. My humble opinion on corporate blogs?

Corporate but authentic

While corporate blogs are different from personal blogs, they both should be authentic as a common factor. That’s why all the official paperwork got on Greenpeace nerves even more. On its Twitter, Nestlé tirelessly redirects people to its website articles, saying: "this is what Nestlé thinks about it".

What I like about some corporate blogs is the fact that it allows me to get an insight of the company’s corporate culture. The values of Nestlé would be more interesting than an unverifiable plan of actions. While nothing proves that Nestlé is good-willing, there is nothing to prove the contrary.
Since I personally don’t know anybody that works for Nestlé, I would have liked to read from somebody that is part of the company. Somebody that is not too afraid to share its views on some incidents without denigrating the company.
Could a Nestlé employee make a credible blogger?

I have always wondered who updates corporate blogs. Regular employees or specialists in Communications and Public Relations?
I managed to find the answer to this question and I’ll probably get back to that later. I’m thirsty for now. I look at my bottled water. The Logo. It reads Nestlé…

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