Taco Bells “Real Time” PR

So I just got done reading the book Real-Time Marketing and PR by David Meeram Scott.The main point of the book is how in a world of blogs and social media companies are being forced to react and resolve PR problems in real time, not on their own time tables weeks later.

After I finished reading this book I was excited to see how long it would take for me too see examples of companies trying to tackle this problem of real time marketing and PR.

Taco Bell Case Study

January 25th Taco Bell woke up to the news of a Lawsuit over its taco meat. I guess the main question is what percentage of taco meat must be meat? At Taco Bell its taco meat is 88% meat which for Amanda Obney isn’t enough, so she is suing them. The story had such appeal that it spread all over the media very quickly!

So what steps did Taco Bell take to counter this negative publicity? Within 2 days Taco Bell executed these following steps to offset the media, and I believe any company could easily follow these steps to stay out of PR hot water.

Taco Bell’s Steps To Instant PR Recovery

1) Video Explanation

CEOGreg Creed didn’t hide up in his glass tower when the news broke out. rather he got in front of his audience and addresses the issue head on through youtube.

2) Build PR Site

Taco Bell quickly put up this site to keep the public upto date on the situation. Here they show the video, live news updates, taco meat facts and it even comes in espanol.

3) Promote the Site

AFter creating the site Taco Bell didn’t sit back and hope everything blows over, instead they actively promoted the site to get as many peoples peepers on the page as possible. All this week Taco Bell has been promoting the news site on all the social media networks, blogs, and even paying for sponsored results on major search engines.

Ask Sunday’s Lack of PR

On the other end of the spectrum I have had a bad experience with Ask Sunday the online virtual assistant company. I know that my case is not national news breaking like Taco Bell, but I think its still a good example.

It began when I saw their ads everywhere like on all the sites I was looking at for this post. So i tried them out and sadly I wasn’t happy with the inconsistent service so I cancelled my account and I thought it was over. It wasn’t because I got billed for the following 2 months. I emailed, called, and didn’t hear back from them. As a last resort I went to twitter to try and reach them and I admit to vent a little.

I was surprised that by the next day I got some great responses to my tweet, but not from Ask Sunday.
My text about Ask Sunday

Instead I got a tweet from someone explaining their disappointment in Ask Sunday and a competitor of theirs. Talk about real time monitoring! In my moment of anger with their competitor TimeSvr chimes in offering to fill my needs, including a free trial of their product. Finally days later Ask Sunday emailed and called me back to inform me that they would finally cancel the account and refund the money.

Final Word

Now more than ever companies need to be set up to monitor and resolve problems quickly through social media and blogs. Thankfully with so many tools out their to monitor and engage with customers these issues will become streamlined and easily resolvable.

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