Ok, so I lied about spending my Labor Day weekend writing blog posts about PR case studies... it seemed like I'd have a lot more time to do so, but the beautiful September weather in upstate New York was so overwhelmingly rare that I had to take full advantage.
But we're back, and as I promised, it's time to dissect Sigg's recent announcement about BPA in their "eco-friendly" water bottles. I came across the news last week on the Yahoo! home page, and only time will tell how the PR team at Sigg handles the bad publicity, but so far, it doesn't seem like they're doing a great job.
Sigg has a semi-strong presence on social media, and it's tough to tell where the "official" accounts are, but the fact is their brand is losing its reputation faster than Milli Vanilli after a skipped record (maybe not that fast...). Read some of the excerpts below from different social media outlets:
"...what really shocks me is that I did not receive an e-mail or mailed notification from this company as I have ordered from them on-line before.""My SIGG water bottles, bought to replace BPA plastic, contain BPA, a fact SIGG glossed over: FAIL"
Patrick Smith, SIGG Facebook Page
"The business impact of their decision remains to be seen. It is clear, though, that they will lose the faith of a lot of their customers. Personally, will I buy bottles from SIGG in the future? No."
Alex Lewin, Feed Me Like You Mean It Blog
SIGG's official response came just 2 days ago. Apparently, they had more Labor Day plans than anticipated, as well. Moving forward, SIGG CEO Steve Wasik promises to keep consumers informed about new SIGG water bottles, make it easy for them to exchange their old bottles, and...
"Unveil an independently managed grant program to help fund BPA and chemical research that will help eliminate confusion and concern about this issue. While we have moved away from BPA in SIGG products, it continues to be used in countless products that we all use each day. If it poses a real threat, we want to help curb its use."
The company, and particularly the CEO, cites "naivety" about the responsibilities of being a green industry as part of their mistake. The apology letter, referenced above, contains hints of superiority and sarcasm toward seemingly uninformed consumers. There is still no link to social media pages from the official SIGG website. They're still missing a huge opportunity to win back their once-loyal base - the people who have now turned on them through their own connections.
SIGG, you're becoming a case study for ignorance towards social media marketing. Will you be the first big company to implode because "media relations" has a whole new meaning? As I mentioned earlier... time will tell.
Part 3 tomorrow: Today's version of the classic "Coke Classic" study