How Yum! Brands is engaging 24-hour consumers in Asia

Low Lai Chow

"When you're in a business like mine, you can get real-time feedback, which is good as well as bad," Vipul Chawla, vp/cmo of Yum! Brands Asia – the owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell – told delegates at the Festival of Media Asia Pacific 2014. "Consumers tweet and eat. As we're eating, we're talking about it. We're sharing it. This happens a lot in Asia.

"Given the nature of our business, we've got 24-hour restaurants. And for the brands, we're interacting all the time. We don't have … the luxury of saying 'I will respond to a Facebook post or a complaint on Monday when I get back to work', or having [lots of time] to consult with the PR department. Those days are gone."

A now infamous example of how this impetus towards rapid-response took hold dates back to June 2011, when a staff member at a KFC branch in Malaysia was filmed tampering with food. The clip was widely circulated online, and provided lessons for any brand about the risks of social media.