Eric Umeofia CEO of Erisco Foods Limited

From Social Media Review to PR Inferno: How Erisco Foods Can Avoid Getting Burned

A recent incident involving Erisco Foods and a customer named Chioma has become a social media firestorm, highlighting the importance of measured responses to online criticism. Here, Chioma’s review of Nagiko Tomato paste, alleging it contained sugar (a common ingredient), escalated into a PR nightmare for Erisco.

The Misstep: Escalation Over Explanation

Erisco’s decision to pursue legal action, leading to Chioma’s arrest and continued detention while pregnant, has backfired spectacularly. While protecting brand reputation is crucial, this heavy-handed approach has alienated consumers and painted Erisco as a bully. Chioma’s further comment implying the product is “killing people,” even without explicitly stating it, adds another layer to the situation.

The Better Way: De-escalation and Transparency

Here’s how Erisco could have navigated the situation more effectively:

  • Direct Communication: A private message to Chioma clarifying the use of sugar and offering a product exchange could have diffused the situation.
  • Public Transparency: A social media post addressing the concerns, explaining the use of sugar in the product, and emphasizing commitment to customer feedback would have shown responsiveness.
  • Review and Improvement: Erisco could use this as an opportunity to review the recipe and consider offering a sugar-free option for health-conscious customers.

Challenging False Claims While Maintaining Civility

While Chioma’s comment regarding “killing people” is undoubtedly hyperbolic, Erisco’s current tactic of demanding she produce evidence of these deaths appears confrontational.

Here’s how brands can address potentially damaging (but likely unfounded) claims:

  • Fact-Checking and Public Statement: Erisco could issue a public statement with data and scientific evidence refuting the claim.
  • Focus on Product Quality: Highlighting safety certifications and commitment to quality control demonstrates a proactive approach to consumer safety.
  • Engage with Supportive Customers: Encourage satisfied customers to share positive experiences with the brand on social media.

Learning from the Fallout:

The CEO’s insistence on a legal battle, regardless of Chioma’s comment and personal situation, comes across as vindictive. This has divided consumers, with some questioning the CEO’s priorities.

Taking the Right Steps Forward:

Erisco still has a chance to salvage the situation. Here’s what they can do:

  • Drop the Charges: This is the most critical step. Publicly dropping the charges against Chioma would demonstrate a willingness to de-escalate.
  • Issue a Sincere Apology: A heartfelt apology acknowledging their mishandling of the situation and expressing empathy for Chioma would go a long way.
  • Focus on Customer Service: Erisco should prioritize regaining consumer trust by focusing on excellent customer service and responsiveness to online feedback.

This situation serves as a stark reminder that brands exist in a world of constant online scrutiny. Responding with empathy, transparency, and a commitment to customer satisfaction is essential for navigating online criticism, even when faced with potentially false claims. A measured response fosters trust and protects brand reputation in the long run.

Do Business Better with Us

At Mapemond, we understand the importance of effective PR. We offer comprehensive training programs to ensure your staff can manage customer interactions and online reviews with professionalism and empathy.

Don’t let negative reviews become your business’s downfall. Let us help you navigate the ever-evolving world of online reputation management so you can focus on what truly matters – delivering exceptional customer experiences and building a thriving brand.