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How Corporate Image Can Be Ruined In A Flash, And How To Prevent It

07/28/2014

The news does not just come on in the evening anymore. People do not meet in the town square to have a bite to eat and discuss the day’s events. No, we now live in a fast paced 24/7 world where things can change in the blink of an eye. Even corporate image can be on the chopping block if simple mistakes are made. 

Social Media and Corporate Image 

Most corporations are interested in maintaining social media pages. In the best cases it allows a business to interact with followers and promote products and services. In some situations however, a post made in error or without enough forethought can cause an enormous backlash.

In 2012, McDonald's joined the Twittersphere with paid-for tweets and the intention of using the hashtag #MeetTheFarmers to propel the brand to the front page with heartfelt stories about fresh food. Not getting the return they had hoped, the decision was made to use the hashtag #McDStories and consumers took over immediately and the campaign went downhill quickly. This is a perfect example of a huge and costly gaffe on social media. The following media outlets rapidly took note providing some devilish tweets via screenshots:

Businessinsider.com ~ McDonald's Twitter Campaign Goes Horribly Wrong #McDStories

Daily Mail (online) ~ #McFail! McDonalds' Twitter promotion backfires as users hijack #McDstories hashtag to share fast food horror stories

Forbes.com ~ #McDStories: When A Hashtag Becomes A Bashtag

Want to avoid being in this scenario? Play devil’s advocate before launching any campaign and you can save your company from spending a lot more money to repair a problem it created. McDonald’s chose to ignore the obvious with their public image (unhealthy, cheap food); now they will devote the next year and a half on rebranding (Source: ADWEEK, McDonald's Will Spend the Next 18 Months Rebranding New menu and restaurant remodels aim to combat sliding sales By Daniel Lefferts)


Leaked Information
 

A lot of companies today "leak" their own information and while most companies require employees privy to private data sign a confidentiality agreement, the chance for information to make it into the news provided by a rogue employee is a real possibility. Eliminating disclosures may be impossible, nonetheless controlling them is something very much in the hands of the company. 

Here are two examples of several well-known brands that let the cat out of their bag so to speak:

Wired ~ Incompetent or Shrewd? 7 Tech Companies That Leaked Their Own Secrets

Stuff.com ~ Secrecy be damned! These collection of candid gadget makers spilled their own beans prior to launch


Quality Products
 

A quick and easy way to lose credibility is not providing quality in a product and/or meager customer service. Whenever there is evidence merchandise is not all it’s cracked up to be, and after-sales service is just as poor, expect to experience problems as a result. Consumers want to do business with trustworthy companies and ones that show empathy while trying to rectify an issue. A key example of how not to work with the public is the recent over exposed Comcast customer service debacle. On the other hand, technology business owner and Forbes.com contributor Gene Marks makes a pretty good argument for the brand as it repairs its corporate image in an article titled  5 Reasons Why You Should Admire Comcast.

“Comcast stands behind its employees. There have been recent reports of some unhappiness among employees at the company and I don’t know if that’s true or not. But give credit where credit is due: a few days after that over-zealous, super-aggressive maniac of a customer-service-rep at Comcast became infamous the company defended him, saying that he was only doing “what he was trained to do. Sure, I think a review of their internal training methods is a good idea after this crazy incident. But the company could’ve thrown this employee under the bus. They didn’t.”

 

For helpful tips on keeping a positive corporate image and how to avoid costly missteps Contact us.