We’ve all had that moment. You know, the one where you realize something just went horribly wrong and your stomach sinks to your feet. Just the other morning I was having a so-so morning. I got terrible sleep, I gulped a giant container of sour milk and then I came downstairs to find my car with two boots on it. It was an “oh sh*t” kind of morning. We are presented with these situations everyday – there is no such thing as a perfect day. Even on good days we have some small things we must fix. But what happens when an “omg” moment happens? What happens after we curse and our stomach sinks?
The Kitchen Aid tweet was published on the night of the Presidential debate and the StubHub tweet was published the next day. After seeing these back to back social crises, it is a must that everyone, especially those in the social media industry, review how these situations were handled with by the brands and received by the public.
Kitchen Aid – What Was Done Right
Cynthia Soledad, senior director of KitchenAid brand and marketing shared services for Whirlpool Corp., took complete control and was fully transparent. She immediately took to the Twitter airwaves and apologized thoroughly to followers for what was said. Not only did she apologize to followers, but she directly apologized to President Obama and his family and then thanked followers for hearing her out. I agree 100% with these moves because it shows me that the brand is not a brand anymore, but completely human. Cynthia Soledad came clean with what was said and acknowledged it fully – she did not try to sweep it under the rug and hope people would forget about it in a few days. It was owned. She even asked people to DM her if they had questions about the situation. How many brands have ever done that? More visual details can be seen in this article written by Tim Stenovec.
Kitchen Aid – What Was Done Wrong
Followers wanted to see more. I know I did. When a situation like this happens, a brand can be tarnished forever. It is no light subject. Above I applaud Cynthia for how she handled the situation, but I wanted to see more of HER. Perhaps a short, well produced video segment? Something visual of her and her response to us and the president. I know this is a nitpicky request, but I guarantee it would have helped. When people are dealt with face to face in situations like this it means the world to them. Some don’t care either way, but I know that I would be fully engaged if something like this was released. And hey, there’s still time!
Kitchen Aid – What I Would Do Down the Line
Everyone has different opinions about this and I would love to hear them, but I would definitely make light of this hiccup. Witty comedy can solve a lot of problems. It would be a good way to not only wrap up this situation, but to call some potentially positive attention towards the brand and show that they know they messed up. How? Release some kind of viral video calling yourself out about this tweet and everything that happened around it. If done correctly, it could be harnessed as a positive for the brand. Check out the Dollar Shave Club promo – that is the tone I’d like to see. Just something to think about.
Kitchen Aid – Twitter Feedback
StubHub – What Was Done Right
This situation was more of a mere screwup than anything else. Although details are still coming out, it has been stated that this was probably someone who posted to the wrong account. That being said, it was an epic fail on behalf of the brand. What makes this crisis different is that it deals with vulgar language as opposed to insulting content. We all know the rule: don’t EVER delete comments or tweets unless absolutely necessary. Always deal with situations head on and with full brand transparency. There is one exception though, when the content is obscenely vulgar and offensive. I am glad StubHub decided to take this down because it cannot be living on their stream. But where I think they scored is their acknowledgment to followers about deleting it. Again, the brand became human and acknowledged their mistake. They deleted it and came out and said they deleted it and then apologized. Think what would have happened if they would have taken it down and not said anything.
StubHub – What Was Done Wrong
I want more! Ok, you took it down and it is gone. Good job. Now I would like some more explanations, comments, etc. about what happened. I don’t think it should be drug out, but some more insight would help. Why? Because that’s what we want. If followers (remember, followers are actually people) know what is going on internally with a situation like this, it makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
StubHub – What I Would Do Down the Line
Since this crisis dealt with vulgar language that negatively referenced the brand, I would not take the witty comedy route. It might not sit well with people. I would simply take a lesson from Cynthia Roledad and open myself up (yes you Social Media Manager) to the audience for questioning. Let them tweet you, DM you, etc. so you can explain everything and hopefully diffuse the situation.
StubHub – Twitter Feedback
Alright, Class. What Have We Learned?
A. The obvious – always approach a social crisis with full transparency and openness. Be willing to discuss, not deter.
B. Evaluate the situation for what it is. Gauge how big or small your recovery plan must be.
C. Make sure your future solutions plan lines up with the situation. Example: the witty comedy approach is fun, but not always appropriate.
D. Be ready to be crucified. Social media allows people to also be fully transparent with their opinions and you better believe they will let you know if you messed up.