Greggs found itself at the centre of a digital crisis on Tuesday morning when an offensive logo started appearing on Google search results. The logo, which mocked both the standard of the company’s food and its clientele, appeared in the company profile window, alongside the firm’s share price and CEO, making it impossible to miss.

greggs logo

The image came from the Uncyclopaedia, a satirical version of Wikipedia which, like Wikipedia, anyone can edit. The problem for Greggs is that, whilst Google won’t necessarily class Uncyclopaedia as a largely authoritative source, it does class where the site hosts its images, Wikia, as an authoritative source.

Greggs isn’t the only victim of this prank. It happened to Currys PC World back in March, whilst searches for both the Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn and the South Yorkshire village of Skellow reveal images that we won’t link to.

But in fairness to Greggs, they have played this beautifully on social media.

It started with a tip-off, which they took in good humour....


... followed by many more tip-offs...




After appearing to fix the issue themselves, they then sought advice...


... pointed out the errors in the image...


... and even joined in a joke about their rivals...


... before turning to a spot of bribery.


So how did Greggs get it right?

The incident was a big attack on the Greggs brand but, rather than keep quiet and repeat a bland company line, Greggs took the issue in good humour. They retained their personality, weren't afraid to laugh about the problems they took it on the chin, which is an incredibly effective way to diffuse the situation.

This incident made national news and, had Greggs simply gone into its shell and kept quiet about the problems, the levels of discussion would have simply overpowered the brand. In the end, the social media team was able to take a potential brand nightmare and come out with an incredible amount of respect - very much the opposite of what the minds behind this prank would have wanted.

Want to know more about social media crisis management? Check out Heather Healy's top tips.

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