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Why Greggs' logo hijacking proves all brands need a social superhero

21st Aug 2014
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Ahhh….Greggs the bakers. Whatever your thoughts on the quality of their sausage rolls or their assault on the city centre kebab shop market, you can’t deny the fact that they have a crackpot social media team.

It could have been a PR disaster – earlier this week Twitter started trending with an ‘alternative’ Greggs logo that had mysteriously appeared on Google’s search page, and the mickey-taking started gaining pace. Despite the fact that the said logo had been sat on the Wiki-alternative site Uncyclopedia for years and had only fed through due to an algorithmic quirk caused by Google’s page ranking system, people were quick to call the ‘hack’ a work of genius; even suggesting Greggs was deserving of the mishap while agreeing with the sentiment of the logo.

That’s when the nationwide baker’s communication team set to work. In the past they may have spent a few hours carefully drafting a dry press release about the unfortunate nature of the whole affair and promising to get it fixed, but instead they banged their social media heads together and released this cunning caption on Twitter:

Simple. Thus ensued a lively exchange with Google over Twitter about baked goods, and some light-hearted banter with customers, and before you could say "Krispy Kreme", the hashtag #fixgreggs was trending and everyone was suddenly discussing what great sports Greggs the bakers were and debating the chain’s position as a ‘national treasure’.

One tweet with a funny picture had created a complete 180-degree turnaround in public perception.

Dianne Canham, client services director at éclat Marketing, says:“The breach on Greggs, and the ‘creative’ editing of its logo when searched via Google, may have bought a giggle to the lips of many consumers but probably caused minor heart palpitations to the management and communication’s teams at the organisation. At the heart of this story is essentially a security breach, which meant that hackers were able to infiltrate the networks and amend the logo. As with any situation of this nature, the most important thing to address immediately is not how it happened, but how to deal and manage it. And this is where Greggs were a breath of fresh air."

“This is a perfect example of how crisis situations can appear from nowhere,” says Danny Whatmough, chair of the Public Relations Consultants Association. “Greggs turned what could have been a reputational disaster into an opportunity to promote the brand with a huge dose of personality. By not taking itself too seriously and tackling the nub of the matter in an open, transparent way, it won plaudits and turned a problematic situation on its head.

“Greggs has shown how brands shouldn’t be afraid to bring personality and humour to their communication – especially on social channels. It’s also a good lesson about not panicking when things go wrong and how you should look for proactive, creative ways to rescue a situation that is going to be difficult to predict.”

To the rescue

If there’s one thing the whole affair proved, it’s how important having a social media team can be when **** hits the fan. In amongst the debate about crisis management in the modern era, some interesting facts about the success of the sent tweet surfaced. For instance - prior to news surfacing about the logo, social monitoring provider, Crimson Hexagon reports that Greggs was receiving around 60 mentions a day on Twitter. Following the day the news broke, the brand saw a 553% increase in Twitter mentions. In the 24 hours that followed the news breaking, Greggs had received 10,740 posts relating to the mishap, 22% of which directly specified “how well the Greggs social team had handled the whole thing”.   

Almost three-quarters of the conversation (67%) was focused on blame, with over half of Twitter users resting it firmly with Google (54%). Only 3% attributed any fault with Greggs.

“The social media team did a fantastic job of joining in on the joke and engaging with those who were commenting on the story as it spread across the internet,” says Jan Vels Jensen, CMO at Trustpilot. “At the same time, behind the scenes, it’s clear they were actively working to fix the prominence of the logo on Google. It’s something we’ve seen time and again with online reviews – so often a piece of negative feedback or commentary can be turned into a positive by businesses that deal with it in a direct and authentic way.

“And after handling the crisis, Greggs is doing something really interesting – they are continuing to publicise what happened. Even comically designing their own Google Doodle made out of pastries. Arguably it’s a dangerous strategy but it’s a sign of a very savvy company that understands its customers and what they are interested in. I feel a lot more affinity now with Greggs after they took a potentially embarrassing incident and proudly owned it. Besides, how many people googled 'Greggs' on Tuesday that otherwise wouldn’t have even thought about them?”

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By wilshaw40
17th Jan 2016 13:09

Should this say "crack social media team" rather than "crackpot social media team"?:)

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