May 28, 2015 · Melissa Kavanagh

The KIND® Way of Brand Reputation Management

Regardless of the industry you are in, whether it be travel/tourism, automotive manufacturing, or clothing retailer, there is nothing more important than your brand reputation. If your brand becomes damaged for any reason, it can present detrimental effects on revenue.
I am a bit of a health/wellness nut, and one of my favorite brands, KIND®, recently came under such an attack from the FDA. KIND is food manufacturer of all natural, non-GMO, gluten-free snacks like granola, fruit and nut bars, healthy grain bars, etc. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told KIND that the label on some of their bars needed to remove the word “healthy” because in order to use that adjective, the snack must have no more than 3g of total fat or 1g or saturated fat per serving, and these bars did not meet those requirements.
What would YOU do if someone publicly announced that you had misrepresented your product? I’m not here to debate my disagreement with the FDA on this issue, but do want to bring up the tactics used by KIND in this issue. Instead of burying the problem, KIND took a very different approach. First, they blogged about it, and explained the FDA’s position. They also pointed out that they are working with the FDA to correct the marketing. But they didn’t stop there…because they believe in their product. They have taken this opportunity to educate their consumers on their philosophy of what healthy is, and how nuts (even though they are high in fat) are a part of a healthy diet.

KIND didn’t even stop there, though. They took to social media to start a non-confrontational conversation to combat the FDA and began the “#startthediscussion” campaign. Using Facebook and Twitter, KIND posed the question to its audience “are nuts healthy?” Not only could people like, tweet, and comment on the question, but the link from the post goes to Google with the search query being that phrase. This allows their customer to do their own research. It’s like saying, “hey, don’t take my word for it…here’s some independent information on the topic.” They followed up with “what is a healthy diet?” and “what is good fat?” It’s genius, if you ask me.

As an agency, we frequently have discussions with our clients about hotel reviews. In the past, many have shied away from posting them on their websites, for fear of negative commentary. We tend to recommend to embrace the opportunity to engage with your consumer. Have a dialogue about what is going on. Take the chance to educate them. Consumers appreciate honesty.
What challenges have you had with brand reputation? Comment below!

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