Tag Archives: offend

Costco begs for forgiveness after being caught out on Twitter

25 Nov

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I’m normally an advocate for social media silence, but national retailer Costco was quick to repent for its sins with a statement – after the brand was caught out last week.

To put it into context, a Californian pastor noticed that a stack of Bibles were labelled as fiction in one of its stores. Now, you might not believe that this book contains the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but there’s no need for the brand to potentially offend the 246m Christians in the US.

So how did Costco respond after the pastor blasted the company on Twitter? With a watertight crisis management statement that followed the classic ‘get out of jail’ formula:

The formula
Shift blame + Take blame + Olive branch solution = Peace is restored

What Costco said
Costco’s distributor mislabelled a small percentage of the Bibles. However, we take responsibility and should have caught the mistake. We are correcting this with them for future distribution. In addition, we are immediately relabelling all mislabelled Bibles. We greatly apologise for this error.

By the time this was issued it was too little too late. Pastor Caleb Kaltenbach’s tweet had already shocked his congregation, who questioned if Costco was guilty of religious discrimination. And 1,466 followers, 253 retweets, 88 favourites and a flurry of national news stories later, it got so out of hand the pastor had to calm his flock down by claiming he wasn’t angry, just interested.

The one thing Costco didn’t do was use its social media channels to defend itself. Perhaps it was trying to bury bad news or take the approach that what its customers don’t know won’t hurt them (or the business). But failing to maximise its 1m reach on Facebook seems strange, especially when its Twitter pages are such a mess.

Well, at least Caleb has a pinch of inspiration for his next sermon and has successfully engaged with his audience. But the moral of this story is that if you’re truly sorry for your actions, God will forgive your mistakes.

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This is NOT a Royal Baby blog: Waiter, is that an iPhone in my soup?

23 Jul

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I use my iPhone all the time. It’s the first thing I check when I wake up and the last thing I look at, at night. I tweet, blog, Facebook and Snap Chat – and I’ll do whatever the next big thing is.

I don’t get offended by people checking their phone when they’re with me – it’s about staying connected and being involved in a conversation at that very moment. I’m always telling my friends that the great thing about social media is that it happens in ‘real time’. I can enjoy a conversation with someone on the other side of the world and not have to wait around for a reply, but feel assured that they are online and I know chatting will be as easy as if they were next door.

So, I’m not surprised that new research commissioned by Mars, part of NestlΓ©, has found that a fifth of young people check their phone at the dinner table. But I’m shocked that it’s not more than this, what with ‘tweet what you eat‘ trends taking off on social networks, encouraging people to share their dishes with the world.

The art of conversation isn’t dying, it’s just changing. Gone are the days of crafting a careful text to get great value from your 10p SMS that communicates everything you want to say in 160 characters. More often than not they’re now free so we can say as much as we want without spending a dime. Even Whatsapp, Twitter and BBM encourage people to make conversation little and often with as many friends as they can think of.

What would be interesting to find out is if the research applies to families eating at home or dining out. Yes, more people are eating in restaurants, pubs and hotels as cheap treats during the continued effects of the recession. But cheap as the occasions may be, to me it’s still a treat and I’d be less inclined to search the web or take a call if I was there.

The article on The Drum doesn’t go into detail of many other findings from the research. It makes me question if Mars got the results they expected – because I can’t see many other pieces of coverage online.

It’s also a strange time for this research to be revealed. It comes weeks after Jo Clarke made the news when she was refused service in Sainsbury’s until she ended her phone call – which led Nick Clegg to call for gadgets to be banned from the diner table. I can’t imagine Mars wanting to put the issue into perspective for political reasons. I’m also not sure how it links back to their brand – and if this was a theme among any of the questions asked.

Overall, at first glance, this activity has little PR benefit for the business and just reiterates what we already know. Agreed?

How often are you on your phone? Is it rude to scroll through messages when eating out?

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