crisis management

How can marketers avoid controversial campaigns?

In these polarising times we live in, controversy never seems to be too far away. From day-to-day politics to the world of sport, it appears we have an attraction to things that cause a bit of a stir.

Often, these controversial topics can be a marketer’s best friend acting as link bait. After all, if you’re trying to get people talking about your brand, you need to give them something to talk about.

Social media and crisis management: a Volkswagen case study

The emissions scandal engulfing Volkswagen raises many important questions.

While I can’t claim “how does Volkswagen deal with this on social media?” is the most pressing of them, I thought it would be worthwhile having a look at the company’s reaction on Twitter and Facebook to see if there’s a protocol for crisis management on social media.

thumbs-down

Top 4.5 marketing lessons of the Rush Limbaugh PR fiasco

In less than a week, political radio host Rush Limbaugh has seen upwards of 30 sponsors flee his radio program. Their migration began in response to a public boycott campaign which has relied heavily on social media.

The actions and inactions of Limbaugh and the companies involved provide lessons for marketers in how to respond to crises, buy media and even outflank competitors.

Engaging with people on social networks in the Middle East

So you want to be active in social media and engage with your consumers and followers, but you’re not sure if you can handle a negative situation?

Relax, it’s not the end of the world. In this article, I’ll be sharing with you a simple example that I faced not too long ago and how I managed to turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one.

Groupola’s £99 iPhone: a catalogue of major #FAIL

Last week, in a deal that sounded too-good-to-be true, group-buying website Groupola was offering the new iPhone 4 for a mere £99, sim-free. Users had to simply register interest on the Groupola website, where they would then be emailed a link to buy the new must-have iPhone on Friday. 

With such a tempting deal on offer, on Friday morning, the Groupola website faced major meltdown, and that’s essentially what happened.

A Groupola spokesman said 5m unique users tried to access the site between 9am and 9.30am. That number seems incredibly far-fetched to us but obviously the website fell apart as a result of the demand.

With thousands (if not millions) of users unable to access the site, it’s unsurprising that a wave of angry consumers took to social media channels to voice their outrage on Twitter and Facebook. 

The process was mismanaged from start to finish, resulting in a PR fiasco for the company. So what could Groupola have done to avoid such an unmitigated disaster?

Kevin Smith and Southwest: when should companies avoid the “social media sorry”?

Another week, another Twitter travesty. This week it’s Kevin Smith, who was kicked off a Southwest flight when the flight’s captain apparently made the call that he was too heavy to occupy a single seat. Smith is a movie director with more than 1.5m followers on Twitter, and he let them know about his ordeal in near real-time.

The outcome was predictable: a new Twitter-induced media storm, and PR nightmare for Southwest.

Paperchase, social media and crisis management: speed versus substance

Yesterday, Twitter flexed its muscles once again as a corporate
watchdog. An independent artist alleged that stationery company
Paperchase plagiarized her word and the allegation went viral on the popular microblogging service.

While the firestorm ensued, Paperchase, which is without much of a
social media presence, responded later in the day with an explanation.

paperchase

Paperchase allegedly plagiarises independent artist and Twitter erupts

Over the past few months, Twitter has been used as an effective campaign tool to expose the corporate misdemeanors of many large companies, including Trafigura, H&M, and KFC.

Paperchase is the latest recipient of a growing internet fire-storm, facing criticism over claims that the stationery giant allegedly plagiarised the artwork of a British, independent artist, decorating notebooks, tote bags and albums, and making them available for sale around the UK. 

It’s clear that the world has changed. There is simply nowhere for companies to hide: do something wrong or embarrassing, and internet users will respond rapidly to expose the corporate scandal in a matter of minutes.