We love to herald social media as a highly-accessible and effective platform on which to market our businesses and target our campaigns and indeed it is! However, we must acknowledge the other side of the social media marketing coin. Because of its accessibility and visibility both from a business and consumer standpoint we are faced with the grave possibility of inadvertently sabotaging the reputation of our business while actually working to propel its success. Let’s take a look at two large scale social media disasters from 2017 – what went wrong in each situation and how we can learn from each of them to protect the reputation and integrity of our own businesses.
Dove’s Bottle Blunder
Earlier this spring, Dove piggybacked on its “Real Beauty” slogan and released a campaign called “Real Beauty Bottles”. Real Beauty Bottles consisted of 7 uniquely-shaped bottles of identical body wash intending to celebrate the beauty of women’s many body shapes. Unfortunately, however, the way the campaign was received was nothing to celebrate. Social media exploded with backlash against the campaign, accusing Dove of reinforcing women’s negative body image issues and pigeonholing women into identifying which awkwardly-designed body wash bottle best represents her individual shape.
What can we learn from Dove’s campaign disaster?
It is crucial to really know your audience, handle hot button issues with the utmost caution and have a process in place for screening your campaign prior to launching it – double and triple checking for hidden implications or any potential for misinterpretation.
As we see with Dove, entire campaigns can miss the mark and tarnish or ruin our brand image. Perhaps the greater threat of self-sabotage lies, however, in the daily host of emails we send off to our subscribers and our tweets/posts on our social media accounts.
Adidas’ Shortsighted Word Choice
Adidas gets the credit for a recent, epic email fail. This past April Adidas sent out an email to the Boston Marathon finishers with the subject line, “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!” This shortsighted word choice mortified an entire nation that still vividly recalls the horror of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the backlash on Twitter was swift and harsh. Fortunately, Adidas issued an equally swift and heartfelt apology – owning up their blunder with humility.
What can we learn from Adidas’s email fiasco?
Maintain an awareness of the context in which you are communicating your message. Also, be sure to have someone in your office proofread all material that is sent out or posted on social media – an easy precaution up front that can help you avoid a social media faux pas which could harm your brand image and affect your customer base. Finally – own your mistakes – we all make them! How you navigate marketing blunders can not only help you save face but enrich the integrity of your business and your brand.
If you would like help formulating a marketing strategy tailored to your business goals contact one of our marketing experts to set up your free 15 minute exploratory call to see how we can help you maximize reach and avoid the faux pas.