About the Company –
Lipton is among the world’s largest leading tea brands, sold in more than 150 countries. In the year 1880, 40 year old Glasgow born entrepreneur and famous innovator Thomas Lipton, envisioned an opportunity to make tea universally accessible. He began purchasing tea from the estates of Ceylon, now in Sri Lanka and made arrangements in packaging and shipping at low cost. In the year 1893, he firmly established the Thomas J Lipton Co., a company packaging tea with its base in New Jersey.
Business Objective –
With the sole purpose of truly encompassing the goodness of a tea, Lipton’s ingredients comes from nature. For over a century, they have been bringing the benefits of this plant to people across the world. HUL believes in growing the plantations continuously for it is harvested and enjoyed for generations to come. With an unsurprisingly high standard, Lipton’s tea is major global brand and has been delivering supreme quality for over a century. The company believes that in life, it is important to be able to choose and then choose from the best.
A mis-informed customer threatened to damage a 125 year old reputed company – Lipton, when the customer herself alleged to have found worms in the tea bags of Lipton Green Tea and then went on upload a video on social media. She asserts, through a video, that a curious find is neither green tea nor some herb; hence it has to be a worm.
The allegation is such that it leaves customers in no doubt on lingering over the content. She even goes one step further in showcasing the expiry date of the package which claims to be 2017. This shows that the product is very much fresh and falls into the consumption period category.
The video was posted on Feb 20th 2016 and went viral on social media.
Strategy Adopted –
Today as even brands go strong over digital marketing and social media, they are very much conscious on the reach the medium could garner, be it a boon or a bane. While many experience the downside of the medium, Lipton on the other side used it to counter attack the allegation it faced.
A rumour if not addressed appropriately can take a drastic shape of a diffusion curve. Once the rumour starts, it will move up very quickly to the shape of a normal distribution. The challenge in rumour management is that unless the rumour is quelled appropriately at the initial stage, it will begin to creep upward. This means that instead of monitoring how the growth of a curve is, it is advisable to figure a solution out to kill it quickly in its formative stages. The blue dotted lines in the above / below image represent the points at which the graph can be prevented from growing for which positive actions have to be taken for it to decline.
Once it has passed the early adopters stage it would have gained so much momentum that it would become impossible to quell it. In rumour management, the emphasis is on how to kill the growth of the curve and bring it back to zero.
Lipton has done a great work on rumour management by killing it quickly and also wiping away all the doubts in the minds of the customer about its quality in its product.
In response to the allegation, the company has posted a video in its twitter platform on Feb 23rd 2016, clarifying – “The video posted in Facebook claims worms in Lipton Green Tea is false. There are no worms in our tea bags, these are small lemon flavor pieces which have been mistaken as worms. The video even demonstrates on putting those lemon flavors into hot water to see it getting dissolved.”
Lipton swiftly reacted to the video by putting out an informational video again on social media and responding to the allegation at such short notice, this quelled a dangerous rumour that could have harmed the brand.
Not just that, Dubai Municipality extended its strong support by sharing appropriate information on Facebook and Instagram.
In a video released through social media, they clarified that – there are no worms in Lipton Lemon Green Tea Bags. They are just a flavor pieces which dissolves in hot water. They claimed that Lipton is committed in providing the highest quality & standards in tea.
There is English saying which goes– “When in doubt, clarify”. This is exactly what Lipton adopted to when it needed the most. The company was very quick in reacting and responding to the allegations which were set against them. Probably, this case is a biggest learning for all brands which will be under scanner on various grounds with the advent of social media. This adoption of responding to allegations quickly was one major drawback Maggi had due to which the brand failed enormously.
Hence, this strategy will go into every brand’s DNA going forward to ensure that every query to any allegations will be responded because it is and it will always be a customer who decides the fate of any brand.
Photo Credits:- Afaqs.com, insideiim.com, twitter.com, facebook.com, hul.co.in, Rumour Management chart by Dr. Everett Rogers.