Tag Archives: Helen Flanagan

My Little Mistake…by Burger King

10 Mar

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I choose my blog posts carefully and there’s some battles I just don’t gallop into – like the horsemeat scandal. But, the time has come for me to comment on Burger King.

The fast-food franchise is continuing to launch its kids meal toy giveaway this month – a My Little Pony.

I’m in full support of people not having to apologise for every little thing they say and do which might cause offence (apart from Helen Flanagan – she simply doesn’t think), but there’s times when you have to change tactic to avoid rocking the boat – especially when it recently capsized.

BK was one of the first brands to get caught up in the horsemeat by pledging to switch suppliers as a precautionary measure before admitting some of its burgers had been contaminated. This made lots of people angry. Then the business got hacked on Twitter and we all had a good laugh. It worked because it gained followers.

But, is this Europe-wide promotion undoing its recovery strategy? I think so. Although there’s nothing online to say that the UK is taking part (Germany is cited on the website), it will look foolish. And to those that really take notice, I expect they’ll rip BK to pieces for its brash insensitivity.

To handle this situation, BK has two options:

1) Say nothing and take the (expected) ridicule
2) Make a joke of it and use it to their advantage

Personally, I’d vote for the latter every time. It’s a proactive opportunity to show that the business has a sense of humour and, although it’s a risk, it’s one that could come off with great results

Let’s wait to see if anything happens in the UK.

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Earned media gone bad

9 Jan

After reading an interesting blog this week by Deborah Bates from Red Rocket Media on The Wall about earned media I was grateful for the clear definition as to what it is. I was even more grateful that it fits in tightly to my job description. Earned media is just a new buzz word for PR – third party endorsements. For a moment I thought my client knew more about the industry than I did!

But, what this explanation of earned media doesn’t do is identify that it can go wrong (and often does) for brands – through negative comments.

No one has time to read the full list of online brand blunders to date, but I’ve had to blog about the stupidity of Odeon, American Apparel and Helen Flanagan just in the last few months. So how are we meant to prevent earned media gone bad?

1) Respond to all enquiries
This will help stop challenges before they get off the ground. Even if you can’t help, try and signpost the user to the right direction. You can’t fault someone for being polite can you?

2) Don’t delay
If you take too long to respond to an enquiry and it blows up into a social media storm, people will be pull you up on the time it takes you to respond. Too long and you’re perceived as not caring / understanding that there’s a problem.

At the beginning of campaigns, why not troubleshoot some potential issues with mock responses and solutions and file away just in case you need them?

3) See it from their POV
A customer has just had a negative experience. Have some empathy – we’ve all been there. Acknowledge the issue by giving them a shoulder to cry on, offer a solution and ask others to come forward that might be feeling the same. Brands often sort out issues one-on-one but they could earn brownie points by helping a few others at the same time.

4) Be consistent
A colleague at William Murray raised a brilliant point today: a key message posted online today might not be relevant or in line with your strategy tomorrow. Make sure you don’t stray too far from your company’s core values to demonstrate consistency to fans and followers. Any curve balls will be thrown back, hard.

5) Be honest
If you’re being measured against earned media be honest with your client. Great – you’ve secured 10 examples of positive comments. But, if you don’t flag the 100 neutral-negative ones, then the client will be saying something to you and it won’t be pretty.

It doesn’t mean a bad job has been done – it just reiterates that nobody has a grip on cyber space. Put the figures in perspective.

What are your views on earned media? How is it working for you and your clients?

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Sometimes social media silence is best

19 Dec

Following the tragic Newtown shootings in Connecticut last week, which has left America mourning, brands have continued to make light of the situation with insensitive gestures.

This isn’t uncommon. Recently I blogged on GAP and American Apparel’s misfortunes during the New York hurricanes. Amidst the disaster, both retailers thought sales were the answer and encouraged users to stay indoors and do some shopping.

What’s worrying is that brands aren’t learning the basic ‘dos an don’ts’ even after bloggers hang them out to dry.

This time around there’s been a series of mishaps.

Cerberus Capital Management
Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, the maker of Bushmaster firearms – the gun that killed 27 people, had to pull a marketing ploy that referred to ‘avoiding eye contact with tough looking fifth graders’.

This links to Brad Phillips’ viewpoint on the PR Daily that it’s about time people stopped their prescheduled social media updates and campaigns during crises such as this to avoid foolish mistakes.

Since the shooting, Cerberus Capital Management has announced that it plans to sell the arms firm it bought in 2006.

Dansko
As highlighted by blogger Alex Judd, US footwear maker Dankso posted this on its Facebook page:

“…sometimes it’s the routine of everyday life that keeps us moving after a tragedy. You grasp for the familiar, the little things you take comfort in, even if that’s simply wearing a favourite pair of shoes and taking one step at a time.”

After a series of abuse from fans, it promptly pulled the comment and moved on without apologising – a pet peeve of mine.

Celebrity slip-up
Former Coronation Street and I’m a Celebrity star Helen Flanagan has made headlines for all the wrong reasons – re-posting an image of herself holding a gun to her head as the first Newtown funerals took place.

Helen has since turned the tables on her enemies, claiming the papers are bullying her after her ‘brainless’ tactic.

I’m not going to add to the comments Helen’s been receiving. But I will say, for brands and celebrities alike, there’s nothing wrong with social media silence in the aftermath of an event that has shaken the world.

If you can’t say anything appropriate, don’t say anything at all.

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