P&G's Pampers Shows How Focusing on Social Media can Address a Product Concern Head On.

Recently, there has been some press about whether an improved Pampers product gives babies rashes. P&G met the issue head on in a number of ways, most recently by meeting with “mommy bloggers” and being open and transparent about the underlying research indicating there is no problem. Pampers went to the center of the debate and addressed the issue directly with its core consumers. And their business hasn’t suffered at all.

What companies are doing is starting to recognize the power of the social networks as the grass roots of shaping opinion about their brands. Establishing credibility and authenticity with the ultimate target of a brand is where the action is today. It is no longer the exclusive domain of an advertiser telling us wonderful things about their brands. It is now about understanding that building brands is a complicated integration of outbound messaging (e.g., advertising, PR), brand behaviors and social network dialogues. These networks make it possible to mitigate rumors and even bad news. What P&G has just done is take their information directly to the “mommies” and let them decide. You can’t be more exposed than that. In the end, consumers or customers will decide for themselves.

Social networks have become the great equalizer. The downside can impact a brand that is not truthful about what it is and what it delivers. The upside is that it gets socialized as a good proposition. Consumers aren’t dumb, and the great democratic value of social networks is that they become a leveler for the truth. In the long run, this is a good thing… and branders are just beginning to understand how to use social media to engage their important audiences

Managing a brand is made up of many complex issues, some self-created, some external. But it is how a brand acts and reacts to difficult circumstances that reveals its true character. Pampers has shown us how to get ahead of the curve by using the power of social networks. Props to them.