content crisis

Oh Snapchat, you really are in trouble. Just weeks after Kylie Jenner potentially sounded the death knell for the platform and the petition calling for the platform to remove the unpopular new update gained 1m signatures, Snap has managed to offend survivors of domestic violence. And Rihanna (for one) is not happy.

Today, I’ve been wincing over the painful mistakes some brands have made with their content and the unbreakable rules of protecting your brand’s reputation. But first, here are a few of the recent blunders that blipped on my radar…

What were they thinking?

So, what did Snap do to incur the wrath of everyone’s favourite good girl gone bad? According to HuffPost, they published an advert by a third-party publisher early this week that asked users: “Would you rather… slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown?”

Once the mistake was highlighted, the platform swiftly removed it and issued an apology, stating it was ‘reviewed and approved in error’.

Unfortunately, the damage was done and a couple of days later, RiRi herself spoke up, stating she’d “love to call it ignorance, but I know you ain’t that dumb!”.

Her final cut must have hurt Snap the most: “Shame on you. Throw the whole app-ology away.”

Of course, causing offence to anyone isn’t great form for a brand, but alienating huge groups of people can be catastrophic. Particularly, as in the case of plant milk producer Rude Health and food delivery service Just Eat, if the demographic you’ve offended is part of your client base.

Around Christmas, Just Eat produced a series of ‘happily ever after’ themed pieces of content, ranging from blog posts to short videos on Instagram. One such video seriously missed the mark. It posed the question of how to ‘break the spell of Veganuary’ before showing a woman ordering a pepperoni pizza. Bit of a slap in the face, that – not just to their vegan customers, but to the vegan restaurants they’d partnered up with.

What’s more, instead of addressing the situation quickly, their initial response was to cut and paste a generic statement to the hundreds of irate comments quickly building up in their feed. Finally, they resorted to deleting the comments.

Poor old vegans also had a bit of a shock recently from a brand you’d think was one of their own. A senior member at plant milk producer Rude Health brought a storm of controversy down on the brand when she launched a rather angry attack on vegans that seemed to come out of nowhere.

The blog post in question included comments such as: “Now it’s vegetarianism and veganism, promising to save you from cancer and early death and save the animals while you’re at it… to follow these diets is also to claim the health and moral high-ground. You are clean and you care, presumably meaning those of us still eating ham and cheese toasties are filthy dirty and don’t care.”

Unsurprisingly, vegans – keen consumers of plant milks – didn’t take kindly to this and neither did retailers such as The Vegan Kind who decided they wouldn’t be restocking Rude Health’s products.

How to avoid a content crisis

These are just a few of the many blunders brands have made in their content and social media marketing efforts. So, how can you keep the brand reputation you’ve worked so hard to build safe and secure?

  1.    Listen to your customers (social listening)

Social media is incredible for giving you unparalleled access to the unedited voice of your audience. A good social listening tool can help you cut through the noise and stay abreast of what’s being said about your brand.

  1.    Always respond and do it quickly

Nearly 70% of consumers who tweet a complaint feel more kindly towards a business if it responds promptly to their concerns. In fact, 30% are more likely to recommend it to their friends. However, more than half (55%) of brands fail to put in place an effective strategy for managing complaints on social media.

  1.    Stay transparent

Millennials favour authenticity and transparency – try to pull the wool over their eyes or avoid facing up to your mistakes at your peril. To retain integrity, brands who have messed up need to own it, admit it and apologise. Transparency also extends to ensuring any influencers you’re working with are being upfront about your partnership and it also means keeping communication open with your audience. Deleting any negative comments and trying to cover the whole disaster up will only cause more damage in the long run.

  1.    Ensure all content gets sanity checked

Minimise the risk of a content crisis by ensuring that all content is sanity checked and signed off – you don’t want just one person taking the weight of your brand’s reputation on their shoulders.

Of course, you could simply put your content in the capable hands of the experts. Contact us at M2 Bespoke for help with your content strategy and creation.