Monday, February 16, 2015

Brand 911: The best way to handle a crisis

Two weeks before their scheduled release, episodes for the third season of House of Cards, a popular political drama from online broadcaster and streaming service Netflix, jumped the gun on their true release date on the said platform. Netflix was able to pull out the episodes out in an instant, but not fast enough to thwart worked up social media. Netflix apologized to the series' excited and perplexed fans, and followed up with a witty tweet: "This is Washington," it said. "There's always a leak."

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Online gaffes far worse than Netflix's technical glitch have happened in the last few months. Just last December, for instance, Hollywood was shaken by an elaborate hacking of email exchanges among the executives of media empire Sony weeks before the release of The Interview, a controversial satire of the North Korean government and its despotic leadership.


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Trifling or massive, marketing gaffes should be dealt with in the simplest and sincerest way possible. Often, the way to go is for the company involved to apologize humbly, admit to its oversight, and acknowledge that it could have done something to prevent it.

Most blunders result from a company's failure to observe and monitor trends before crafting its messages. For instance, social media trained the spotlight on Entenmanns, a bakery, on July 2011, but for the wrong reasons. Entenmanns used the #notguilty hashtag, one that was used to condemn the verdict of the high profile trial of Casey Anthony, to position their baked goods as sinful treats. A tide of angry replies and comments came its way. But to the company's credit, it issued a succinct but heartfelt apology, briefly explaining what happened and expressing remorse over the lack of sensitivity.

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Lastly, the company should offer a meaningful, proactive solution moving forward. It can create a public series of initiatives to enforce change. If customers were complaining over the Internet about automated, off-tangent messages, the company should start responding to queries with personal, real-time feedback. No other proof of sincerity can be as concrete as taking action.  

Spiro Baltas and his team of experts at Gotham Brand offer cutting edge solutions for boosting and protecting brand image. Visit this site to learn how to manage social media brand presence.

1 comment:

  1. Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or B2B.

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