Cadbury's have felt the full force of consumer anger after reducing the number of eggs in a box from 6 to 5 and replacing the dairy milk shell with 'standard cocoa mix chocolate'. Furious chocolate fans have taken to social media to voice their displeasure and a petition on change.org to request that Kraft change the recipe back, has so far amassed nearly 3,000 signatures!
So how can you make the changes you want, or need, to your event without upsetting your supporters?
1. Do you know what people love about your event? If not, ensure you survey people who have taken part asking them what they liked, didn't like and would change.
2. Don't change the one thing people love. This sounds a bit obvious, but if the one thing people love is the really expensive cycling top then keep that and make the changes elsewhere. Remember it is harder to find new customers than it is to keep existing ones happy.
3. Ensure the quality of the replacement is up to scratch. If you are changing caterer, ensure you have tried the food, and remember to get references from people they have worked with before so you know they are as reliable as your previous supplier.
4. Be ready to respond if people are unhappy. People inherently don't like change so there will probably be some who wish things stayed the same, but as long as the majority of your supporters are happy (or even unaware) with the changes then you should be fine. However be prepared to ensure you listen to those that are unhappy and know how you will defend your decisions. If you fob them off with a standard answer, complaints are likely to follow.
5. Be flexible. If you find the changes you have implemented haven't worked, then be prepared to admit this and fix it. No-one can criticise you for trying to make more money for a worthy cause, but blindly carrying on when something isn't working isn't going to win you support. If it's a huge disaster, then you can at least use this as a marketing tool the following year e.g. 'we have listened to you, our supporters, and due to popular demand we have brought back XXXX'
Considering these steps before cost cutting your event will hopefully ensure a smooth transition and more profit for your organisation.
Now back to Cadbury's......I've been eating a creme egg while writing this and am not that bothered by the difference, but the five eggs instead of six is another matter all together!!