How an accident in customer relationship management (in the real world, not online…) can become a brand nightmare, just because the victim (or, more precisely, the mother of the victim) runs a blog.
I do not want to discuss the moral aspects, which have been excellently tackled by the involved mother and examined in depth and with empathy and participation on several other blogs. I just want to take a look at the phenomenon in terms of impact on the brand, and some of the lessons that can be learned (…beyond the obvious one: be kind).
Effects: 279 blogs (as of September, 19) have echoed the story, pointing out the offence and – with several different degrees of indignation – the destructive effect on the Carrefour brand. A web search for "Carrefour Assago" shows several references to the story, with the original post in the third place. A search for "Carrefour" alone shows the link in the second page (yesterday it was on the third).
This story tells us something relevant about the potential impact of blogs on corporate brands. But not only as a threat: on one hand, if the issue is correctly managed then the response can get again the same kind of exposure – and the collective blame is directed on the people who were directly responsible, partially repairing the damage to the brand image.
On the other hand, brands can also gain positive exposure for adequately handling special needs – as testified in a blog post written by someone else who found themselves in a situation where the same could have happened – and didn’t.