Spartans of Applesauce

marketing Jun 03, 2015

As a parent of four little kids, I can tell you how much the GogoSqueez product is valued in my kitchen. Actually, my wife and I usually get two cases of it every time we shop. They love the stuff.

And why not… Here’s a US based company that’s making a tasty product. As a parent, it’s easy for me to get my kids a healthy snack, that’s US manufactured and affordable. Plus, it’s a natural product not packed with crappy ingredients that is next top impossible to avoid.

As a business owner, I’m inspired by a fellow New York business doing so well. Providing jobs at a midwest plant, where I know (as an importer myself), they could be banking a much better margin offshoring their stuff. Then I admire their concept of <em>upcycling </em>their product packaging, keeping an eco-friendly product not just on the shelves, but in front of my kids. To me, this is important.

I’ll admit, I never researched anything about this company until prior to typing this article, and honestly still know little about their granular history and rise to market, but I’ve got a solid idea.

Oh… One more thing. When I was 22, between dating the step-daughter of a spaghetti sauce company owner and having a good mechanical mind, I was tweaked my way into a position of production manager of the plant and two warehouses in Warwick, Rhode Island. Yup, 22. So I can look at the unique challenges that face companies like GogoSqueez when it comes to production and deployment to market. I produced around two thousand gallons of sauce a day for a strictly north-east US retail market. I cannot imagine the logistics around sourcing domestic raw material, HR at a midwest plant, mechanics of production and fulfillment (that literally comes down to minutes), meanwhile keeping it all natural. But they do it and I dig it.

In fact, any business that can pull this kind if thing off inspires the hell out of me.

So why am I writing about GogoSqueez? Because they are getting ambushed on Facebook as I type this, from unhappy parents, scared mommies and mostly full of shit opportunists looking for a free case of yummy stuff.

The current bad fortune of GogoSqueez has become a really interesting study for me. And you own a business, it should be for you as well.

These marketing spartans are holding back the mass onslaught of a critical mass that resulted from viral looping of ‘<em>a bad review</em>’.  This is a perfect storm though, one that triggers an ocean of people to rise, a dark sky of daggers and accelerating emotions of anger toward a target they know absolutely nothing about.

If you want to see masses of people really fuck with a business, go to <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Gogosqueez’s facebook</a> page.

If you want to see a team of business people fight like the men of Thermopylae to protect the brand and integrity, <span>go to <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Gogosqueez’s facebook</a> page. Watch and learn.</span>

One image currently is tracking at +800,000 <strong>shares</strong>. In facebook terms, without the algorithm punching those numbers, your talking like 4 – 12 million organic views (my estimate, but you can bet your ass this will be a topic of discussion when I’m on the phone with facebook this Friday) … Add in the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of pissed off moms with and iphone, wifi and free time.

Understand the problem. Now get this.

GogoSqueez is answering every… single… comment. On every share, every timeline. Yeah, do the math.

People who comment based on nothing more than a social proof trigger, maybe – just maybe – a bad experience, have an infectious voice. There’s a science behind this and the outcome really sucks for the business owner and their crew, but complaining is contagious. Remove the human element and complaining is <em>viral</em>. As the laws of acceleration click in and the voice raise fast, so too do more and more people chime in by clicking ‘<em>share'</em> as if they’re serving some cause for justice to protect children in the tribe from the boogy-man in a green pouch. <em> </em>

People who have not worked in large scale food production have no clue how many variables the product faces once it’s out of the hands of the production facility and on route to market. A fork lift operator can load, unload, stack palettes in a warehouses wrong causing pressure on fragile product to cause a burst or even very subtle air leaks. Weather causes cargo to shift, temperatures can destroy food elements and so much more.

So where’s the hype coming from? Power to the People.

Sadly, this great term has a flip-side and this is one harsh example.

Yes, social media levels the playing field between brand and consumer, shifting the role of marketing dollars and increasing the demand of corporate transparency. GogoSqueez is providing us all with a powerful example of why a naive business owner who thinks they should be on social media, should not be… unless they are prepared and willing to fight like hell to protect their brand, or in this case little green pouches of apple sauce.
<h3>The take away</h3>
As business owners, we must constantly stay vigilant to our reputation online by assessing our management of social and review sites. Like GogoSqueez is showing us, don’t let your guard down. They have a brand and a great product they have obviously spent years to build while communities of parents, providing domestic job opportunity, supporting US farms, educating kids and even representing green initiatives. They also acknowledge how this situation can potentially have a catastrophic result to their sales and brand reputation – within hours – by the viral nature of a consumer review inside social.

But with the same perspective, we need to gain inspiration and model those examples of businesses who manage the concerns of their customer community swiftly and openly, while fighting like warriors to protect the tribe who counts on them… And think their stuff is yummy.  Adam

If you’re a business owner, I’m interested in your opinion of the GogoSqueez response to the challenge they face.


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