After this week’s tragedy at the Boston Marathon, I saw a huge outpouring of support online at the various networks I spend my time. On Facebook, there were numerous “We support Boston” and “We pray for Boston” type posts that echoed what I felt.
Crises help to define us as people. We see countless people rushing toward danger to provide a helping hand. We see an outpouring of grief and generosity in these times. While our faith in humanity is often shaken to the core at these times (“how can one person do that to another?”) we also see our faith in humanity almost heightened by generosity and aid. Crises not only help to define our humanity, they also define our brands. We frequently see brands responding in crisis. And just like people, some respond appropriately and some respond inappropriately.
And that inspired the Aaron Hoos weekly reading list for this week:
- Epicurious enrages followers with Boston bombing tweets. Food site Epicurious tweeted a couple of inappropriate tweets following the Boston Marathon bombing. Those tweets have since been deleted from their Twitter timeline but the legacy lives on and it will be interesting to see how the brand comes back from this. These certainly aren’t the only brands to have fallen prey to these problems. Don’t miss the links to similar reputation management debacles also listed in the above article. What’s unfortunate is that these brands now have the Tiger Woods and the “you might remember” factor — they’re linked to a negative news story and it’s hard to separate the two.
- So how do you manage your company’s brand? This article at Inc.com — How to manage your company’s brand — is a great starting place but it’s only the beginning. You need a good, solid foundation of brand management best practices in place so that you can respond appropriate when the shit hits the fan.
- Crisis mode: How to react over social media from Entrepreneur.com is a good read that addresses this very issue. It’s hard to find the balance between real-time response and checks and balances of appropriateness. You’d hope that common sense prevails but it doesn’t always.
- 6 tips for handling breaking crises on Twitter is another excellent must-read for brands… although the truths go far beyond Twitter and should apply to any social media!
- How KitchenAid spun a Twitter crisis into a PR coup is a great little case study in how a PR situation can go terribly awry but can be managed. I’m not sure it was as much of a “PR coup” as the title suggests, but it provides a good outline of how a company dealt with the situation positively.