Non-governmental organizations (NGO) need healthy relationships with the public to meet their goals. Foundations and charities use sophisticated public relations campaigns to raise funds and employ standard lobbying techniques with governments. A speaker from Friends of the Earth said that their NGO organisation would do anything to separate what they do from anything related to public relations. However, at the end of the day, what all NGOs do is PR!
He said another interesting thing, that NGO is "a brand destroyer". According to this man NGO run campaigns in order to destroy or threaten reputation of big companies. It all comes back to the first statement, how can NGO achieve all that with out techniques used in PR?
A good example of the statement is when Greenpeace ran a campaign against Dove. Greenpeace's forests campaigners were invited to meet with senior executives at Unilever headquarters on Friday 9 May 2008. In just two weeks Unilever had received tens of thousands of protest emails from around the world, because Greenpeace activists brought masses of news media to their buildings in the UK, Netherlands and Italy. Greenpeace achieved that by launching a viral video online called "Dove Onslaught(er)". Public pressure moved Unilever to react.
This was the first success in a broader campaign to secure real change on the ground in South East Asia. The campaign was designed to stop the palm oil industry from destroying the Paradise Forests, and ensuring the protection of the climate and a future for orang-utans. On the Greenpeace website they state: “If others in the palm oil industry are smart, they'll follow Unilever's lead. There's no excuse for wasting time now, so any industry slow-learners could be our next campaign target”.
15th March 2010, Greenpeace kept their word. They launched a viral video “Kit Kat – give the orang-utan a break”.
Greenpeace state they have new evidence which shows that Nestlé - the makers of Kit Kat - are using palm oil produced in areas where the orang-utans' rainforests once grew. Even worse, the company doesn't seem to care. This has now resulted in Nestlé has struggled to contain a bombardment of criticism from angry consumers on Twitter and its official Facebook page.
On Twitter, the firm has been bombarded with critical comments. Consumers have also turned to Facebook and accused the company of ‘hiding behind PR spin', calling the company's response to the criticism a ‘major social media fail'. (PRWeek)
Digital PR experts said the situation was quickly becoming a social media crisis.
NGO might be fighting for a better cause using PR, but I believe the way they do it is harming the overall PR reputation.
Greenpeace vs Kit Kat
Greenpeace vs Kit Kat
PRWeek - Facebook Crises