Tasha Richmeier


Casey Study


            Coca-Cola ran into what could have turned into a huge crisis and a big blow to their reputation on a fan’s twitter site.  A fan had posted he was having problems redeeming his My Coke points for a prize.  Coca-Cola promptly replied to his complaint there for saving themselves a bad reputation and possibly losing hundreds of customer.

Adam Brown, head of the social media department at Coca-Cola found an upset fan on twitter who was having issues redeeming his My Coke rewards points for a prize.  Brown promptly issued an apology and helped the customer redeem his points for the prize he desired.  While Brown, and the rest of the social media department could have just let this go, they didn’t.  I have heard the old saying before it only takes one angry customer to lose hundreds of potential customers.

This situation left a lot of room for error and could have showed weakness for the Coca-Cola Company but I believe it was handled correctly.  If Coca-Cola would not have responded to this customer he would have just continued to complain to his family and friends, and whomever else he had on his twitter account.  He would have also continued to verbalize his dissatisfaction with Coca-Cola in his everyday life and probably stopped consuming the product.  While one person boycotting a product maybe not be a huge deal, that one person often shares their story with hundreds of others and may cause the product to be boycotted by several individuals.  Instead Coca-Cola contacted the customer and righted a wrong that the customer was dealing with.  In return the company was giving free advertising and publicity by this customer since he changed his avatar on Twitter to a picture of himself holding a Coca-Cola.  This action by Coca-Cola, I’m sure, gave the customer the feeling that the company did care about him as a consumer and also cared about his wants and needs.  It also showed anyone else who was paying attention to the Twitter site that corporate America is not as heartless and careless and they may have believed.  It is extraordinary that a big company like Coca-Cola would take time to help out a consumer with something as small as receiving a prize from their reward points program.  This was not a huge crisis and could have easily been blown off by Coca-Cola, but it wasn’t.

The strategies used in this case are very simple.  The only thing Coca-Cola did was a show a little compassion and respond to a complaint from a customer.  There were no lives lost and there would have been a huge disaster if Coca-Cola had not responded, but since they did they showed great care for their consumers.  It was a matter of a person taking a few minutes out of his or her day to help someone else.

The consequences and results for Coca-Cola were not a huge deal.  Even if Coca-Cola had not responded to the angry customer they still would have not faced any extra hardship.  The results however showed that because they cared they probably gained a more loyal following of previous customers and possibly gained a few new ones as well.  The company’s response was simple, a quick “I’m sorry” on twitter and a few extra minutes insuring a customer received the prize they had been wanting through the My Coke rewards program.

My opinion of this situation is that Coca-Cola could not have handled the situation any better.  The fact that a huge corporation takes time to see what it’s consumers have to say about it’s product and programs on twitter and then respond to them is awesome.  Most big corporations do not take the time to fix a problem unless it is huge and a big threat to the company.  This was not a big threat at all, nor really even a crisis, just a small situation.  However, the book has taught us that it is much easier to simplify a crisis management plan than it is to expand it for a much broader issue.  The book has also taught us that even though something may seem like a little problem on the outside no problem is ever to small to take care of immediately with a crisis management plan.   I believe the Coca-Cola case was just pure common sense and being a good person.  If Adam’s had been in the customers position he would have been upset that he was not able to receive his prize either, so Adam’s took the time to respond to the customer and truly treat the customer how he would want to be treated.

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4 Responses to Coca-Cola

  1. dijiang313 says:

    I agree with you that this is not a big threat for the Coca-Cola Company, just a small situation. However, the head of the social media for the company Adam Brown did a good job on it, I thought even it is just minicrisis online but we cannot ignore it because nobody cant forcast the deamge.

  2. kurtcomm642 says:

    It is hard to see how this could ever have become a big, big deal, but if you only do the right thing for the big customers, you’re not really showing character. And another point, too, is that, with social media, you just never know when something is going to become a big deal. At the very least, this indicates a safety-first policy.

  3. lilly1989 says:

    “It seems that any campaign of any kind that is going to use the resources of the Internet and the reach of social media should have a special section of its own for crisis communications to answer questions “–I think it is one of the reasons why a company needs a crisis communication plan, that is, it can avoid the internal public to make wrong announcements or measures during the outbreak of the emergent crisis.

  4. rangmoen20 says:

    i couldn’t agree any better, I am really impressed with the manner in which the company swiftly addressed the customer’s concern.

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