• Transform magazine
  • October 15, 2019

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Greggs demonstrates social media crisis management

Greggs-twitter.jpg

The speed of online sharing means that a brand can come up against damaging coverage at any point as Greggs found out yesterday.

But the medium also allows for instant rectification. The official Greggs twitter feed provided a great example of online crisis management by communicating with the public in an empathetic and humorous way that is well aligned with its brand culture.

The problem arose when it turned out that a Google search turned up an altered Greggs logo with a satirical, and not entirely flattering slogan. Greggs’ usual slogan, ‘Always fresh. Always tasty’, was replaced with ‘Providing shit to scum for over 70 years.’ The scam delighted the twitter community who quickly, and repeatedly, brought the issue to Greggs’ attention and the #FixGreggs hashtag was coined.

The Greggs Twitter team responded to the public’s tweets with light-hearted and friendly messages that worked to humanise the company. In response to @samhesling1’s tweet, ‘@GreggstheBakers Have you seen what shows up on your company logo when you google search Greggs?’ Greggs replied, ‘@samhesling1 we certainly have! Praying to the google gods it gets fixed soon!’ Gregg’s friendly tone of voice is aligned with its down-to-earth brand.

Greggs then went on to engage in witty banter with Google, sharing images of its products while promising doughnuts to Google if they fixed the issue. One twitter user said, ‘Comms team at @GreggstheBakers is doing a grand job responding to the tweets relating to the logo that’s on Google. Good crisis response.’ Greggs replied, ‘@leighakendall crisis… what crisis? *eats doughnut*’ Once the problem was fixed yesterday afternoon, Google tweeted, ‘That’s all done now @GreggstheBakers, #FixGreggs is now #FixedGreggs’.

The entire episode seemed to work out in Gregg’s favour, despite the initial embarrassment, the UK bakery chain received a high quantity of media coverage, much of which mentioned the company’s expert use of Twitter and back-and-forth with global brand, Google. Dianne Canham, client services director at éclat Marketing, a PR agency specialising in IT security, says, “Whilst this could have potentially caused reputational damage to the Greggs brand, thanks to their speedy and appropriate response, Greggs were able to turn the situation around, strengthen their brand and emerge from it with their head held high and humour intact.”

It appears that the spoof image was accidentally pulled in from the uncyclopedia.wikia.com webpage. The same thing happened to PC World earlier this year when a search for the electronics retailer returned a logo appended with the strapline, ‘Like hell, but with worse customer service’. The potential for these kinds of images to reach vast audiences in a short amount of time is a constant threat to brands. Having an effective social media strategy in place will help to safeguard companies to these kinds of incidences.