How Nestlé Understands Brand Sentiment Of 2.000 Brands In Real-time

How Nestlé Understands Brand Sentiment Of 2.000 Brands In Real-time
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Nestlé is a very big company, with 486 factories in 86 countries and employing over 330.000 employees worldwide. The have a global portfolio of more than 2.000 global and local brands and they are the leading company in nutrition, health and wellness products. In 2012 they had total revenue of 75 billion euro (98 billion dollar), serving millions of customers around the globe. All of these customers have something to say about their products and with big data Nestlé knows what.

Since the Kit Kat crisis in 2010, when 1.5 million people saw a Greenpeace YouTube video about Kit Kat and palm oil, Nestlé has learned a lot. During the Kit Kat crisis Nestlé did not reply to messages, only after 200.000 protest emails, even tried to delete messages and the video from YouTube. Consultant Bernhard Warner called it one of "the 50 greatest social media screw-ups". With the help of big data tools Nestlé learned from their mistakes and even went from #16 to #12 in the Reputation Institute’s index of the world’s most reputable companies.

They objective was to have a better grip on customer sentiment and they did not want to rely on surveys and other periodic customer testing. Therefore, they created the Digital Acceleration Team; a 24/7 monitoring centre that listens to all conversations about all of their products on social media. This enables Nestlé to understand in real-time the sentiment regarding each of the 2.000 brands.

Although this is nothing new, any large organisation from KLM to Danone or Unilever, uses social media to understand what is going on online, Nestlé takes a different approach. They deliberately focus on mitigating any reputational damage that could appear. They are actively involved in listening to what is said, engaging with those that post any message online, inspiring their customers and ideally transforming the sentiment. They have nearly 150 million fans across 650 pages on Facebook, and they produce 1500 pieces of original content on that platform every day. Together all messages that are analysed reaches millions per day.

They have 15 people working around the clock in the centre that have many screens available to them with real-time information. Each employee in the training program to become a marketing manager first spends 8 months in this centre to gain all the knowledge about online and social interaction using big data tools. The below video gives a great insight in the work of the Digital Acceleration Team:

As Pete Blackshaw, Head of Digital Marketing, explains: “we believe that the web is becoming the world’s largest focus group … to better understand consumers’ unmet needs … and to figure out where to engage”. They look at the amount of the online conversations, the relationship and benchmarks to other players in the market and what the sentiment level is.

They use Salesforce to understand what is going on and they use all the vast possibilities of the software. In the past years they have truly exceeded in knowing what is happening online in real-time regarding their vast collection of brands. Nestlé takes full advantage of the Big Social Data trend and the growth on the Reputation Index shows that their efforts have already paid off.

Image: Reuters / Denis Balibouse
Image Credit: onmyvespa/Shutterstock
Dr Mark van Rijmenam

Dr Mark van Rijmenam

Dr. Mark van Rijmenam is a strategic futurist known as The Digital Speaker. He stands at the forefront of the digital age and lives and breathes cutting-edge technologies to inspire Fortune 500 companies and governments worldwide. As an optimistic dystopian, he has a deep understanding of AI, blockchain, the metaverse, and other emerging technologies, and he blends academic rigour with technological innovation.

His pioneering efforts include the world’s first TEDx Talk in VR in 2020. In 2023, he further pushed boundaries when he delivered a TEDx talk in Athens with his digital twin , delving into the complex interplay of AI and our perception of reality. In 2024, he launched a digital twin of himself offering interactive, on-demand conversations via text, audio or video in 29 languages, thereby bridging the gap between the digital and physical worlds – another world’s first.

As a distinguished 5-time author and corporate educator, Dr Van Rijmenam is celebrated for his candid, independent, and balanced insights. He is also the founder of Futurwise , which focuses on elevating global digital awareness for a responsible and thriving digital future.


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