Friday, January 28, 2011

Taco Bell's Smart Response to Lawsuit Claims They Use Little Real Beef

Taco Bell has very quickly, and smartly, responded to a recently filed class action lawsuit against them that has gained a good deal of media attention due to its claims that the meat Taco Bell uses in their food items contain less than 35% beef and does not meet the USDA requirements to be called "beef."

Taco Bell's campaign includes a counter-suit PR effort, Taco Bell's website, print ads in the WSJ, NY Times, USA Today and regional newspapers, a YouTube video from the CEO, search engine marketing, online advertising, etc. It's quite impressive how quickly they've pulled this together. The print ad they're running does an excellent job of responding to the allegations against them by providing the specific ingredients they use as meat for their food. 

Kudos to Taco Bell's management team on handling this matter quickly. So far, their response is a good example of crisis communications management. Although some still aren't buying Taco Bell's counter claims (see Stephen Colbert's hilarious segment from the Colbert Report and notice the audience gasps when he states one of the alleged filler ingredients: 

Now, if Taco Bell management could only make their products taste like they use real beef. I think there is a lesson here for Taco Bell that, beyond whether or not the allegations against Taco Bell are true, it is telling that the claims that their "beef" contains little real beef was so believable to so many in the media and beyond, which may reflect a brand image issue. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More Than a Third of Fortune 1000 CMOs Don't Believe in Blogs

A recent study of Fortune 1000 company CMOs done by by Blog2Print, a company that turns blogs into books, attempts to shed some light into the reasons some companies have not embraced corporate blogging. The firm's press release might be entitled, "Survey of Fortune 1000 CMOs Reveals Interesting Insights Into the Minds of the Corporate Blogger," however, I found the insights into the minds -- or, more likely, the guts -- of Fortune 1000 CMOs who were against their companies blogging of greatest interest. 

While seventy percent of the surveyed CMOs believe the cost of a blog is "part of the cost of doing business today," thirty-six percent of the surveyed CMOs believe that maintaining a blog is too much work or that they don’t see the ROI for the “level of effort required by the individuals developing content.” (Yes, I have no idea what those six percent of CMOs voting blogs are "part of the cost of doing business" yet don't do it are thinking either.)

The study also included the CMOs picks for best corporate blogs. The responses were fairly divided, with no clear winner:

Netflix (14%) JetBlue (13%) Nike (11%) Nordstrom (10%) Clorox (9%) Walt Disney (6%) Levis (5%) Priceline (5%) Safeway (5%) Coca-Cola (4%)

So, you too might be wondering, how is it possible that 36% of CMOs at Fortune 1000 companies cannot comprehend the utility of blogging?
I suspect that, in most instances, it's another example of marketing managed by gut instead of the head and a failure to adapt to 21st century shifts in media consumption.
I can understand small businesses feeling they do not have adequate resources to manage this area, but Fortune 1000 CMOs?  If your company is a Fortune 1000, your brand has very likely been mentioned in the social media world today, but you're not a part of that conversation, by choice. Even if you're not compelled by the case for more deeply connecting with customers and prospects, increasing brand awareness, brand contacts or SEO, consider all those reporters, investors and analysts who regularly rely on these vehicles and expect to find your company there. Isn't that a sufficient reason for investment? 
Not if the sound of your gut is so loud it's drowning out the sound of the voice of reason.