COLA WAR IN NIGERIA (DAY 10)

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I promise to review an event which Bigi Cola didn’t manage well & which is a lesson to other brands. Today, the thread will be on managing corporate reputation. Mismanaging your corporate reputation can ruin your brand. It must be protected.

Corporate reputation is the total picture or perception of your internal & external stakeholders based on your past actions and likelihood of future behaviour. Many organizations ignore this and it comes back to haunt them. Some companies have run down based on negatives.

You must own the narrative about your brand and if what the stakeholders are saying about your brand is not what your identity is, you must change the narrative yourself and change it quickly. You must not allow negative information about your brand or product to spread.

You must understand that marketing is war and sometimes, the actors may want to play dirty. This must not be allowed to have an effect on your product else, you are heading for a disastrous outing with a decline in sales. You must own your brand image and protect it.

Recently, there was a campaign against Bigi Cola abt one of their flavours. It was out on social media. It started on Twitter & shortly after, it went on Whatsapp. The organization didn’t respond on time & they allowed the message to travel far before their press release.

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Any negative story about any of your products or anything about your company can affect your sales and you must be ever ready to rebuff any such unfavourable comment. A little delay can affect your sales that you may not be able to recover from it a long while.

Organizations must realize that they are in a battle and your competitors will look for every opportunity either real or imagined to sway consumers mind away from your product. Why will you sit down and watch damage to your product without prompt actions?

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This was one of the reasons I said earlier in the series that attention to social media in this age and time will give you a competitive edge and will enable you to give prompt response to your consumers regards any of their queries & also manage any damage to your brand.

A similar situation happened to Lacasera, another CSD in Nigeria, some years back. It was a word of mouth that went viral regarding the ability of the product to unlock bolt and nut. That put fears in the heart of consumers and it affected their brand cum sales.

Corporate reputation enhances your performance on the stock exchange if your company is listed. Corporate reputation must be managed effectively to shape the consumer perception of your brand. Every opportunity for a consumer to interact with your brand is critical.

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Above all, all hands must be on deck by every unit of your organization to prevent any corporate damage that will eventually affect everyone. Any information heard must be swiftly reported and the communications unit must deal with it immediately within 24 hours.

Thank you for staying on to the series. We will continue tomorrow.

Written by: 

Oluwole Dada, (Regional Sales Manager at Nestle Nig. Plc; Member, Chartered Institute of Marketing (UK))

For more insightful conversations, follow Oluwole Dada on Twitter  @oluwole_dada

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