It's Not The Mistake -- It's How We Behave In Recovery
June 18, 2013
You may have heard about the Papa John's tweet sent out the night of game one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks.
It was Fisher, Cox Digital Content Director/Atlanta, who asked me that night if I had seen it. I had not so I went over to Papa John's Twitter account and there it was, asking which team was going to win – the Bruins or the Penguins - a team that had already been eliminated from the playoffs.
This appeared to be an honest mistake that everyone seemed to get a kick out of on Twitter:
We are all prone to oversights and errors in judgment because we are human – and many of us are moving very fast. So the problem (and lesson to take away from this hockey faux pas) isn't in the mistake – it's that there wasn't procedure in place to correct the erroneous tweet right away.
(And it only got worse by Papa John's flighty words).
It took nearly five hours for someone - anyone at Papa John's - to realize what was going on.
Once they did, the tweet was deleted and eventually replaced with this:
So the lag time in acknowledging the wrong tweet was unprofessional – but then the way they addressed it – with a "whoopsies" – that flippant "my bad" – left folks on Twitter following this both underwhelmed and let down.
This was Papa John's opportunity to show more maturity and honesty over their mistake – mainly because the tweet had not been acknowledged for five hours. Tell consumers what really happened – it wasn't something that Papa John's needed to hide from.
And that is really one of the elements of the social space that many brands don't fully understand; that it's our approach that often dictates how we recover from slip-ups. Our approach determines the shelf life of snafus, and how our reputations fare as a result.
"My bad" is no longer sufficient.
Consumers want realness and transparency.
It's time for everyone to create a communication strategy that speaks to what is expected from brands today - authenticity.
This may add more stress to your workday as it requires spending time thinking about worst case scenarios and how you can confront them with honesty. And where appropriate, a sense of humor. But being prepared for mistakes allows you to stay focused, confront situations immediately (and appropriately), and not lose too much of that brand equity you build up each day through those speakers.
And responding authentically will change the situation where hecklers might come to actually feel some sympathy for you - if not simply feel sorry for you, thus shortening the life of the flub.
This real-time digital and social interaction has offered brands a great opportunity to connect with fans in new and more meaningful ways. But it comes with cautions and pitfalls that need to be understood and assessed.
Watch what you say (and even how you spell it) so you don't get caught in the clutches of the minions who have mastered this new medium and can amplify any and all errors with a simple keystroke. If something careless still happens, just have the confidence and humility to genuinely address the mistake head on –so your brand can move on.
"It's not your strengths that keep you in the game; it's your weaknesses that throw you out." Brian Burke
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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