December 2, 2012 § Leave a comment
Social media has completely changed the way brands steer their marketing toward the public. Entire campaigns are developed based solely upon certain networking platforms. Twitter, especially, can catapult a brands image onto the radar of millions of users.
A large determinate factor of the campaigns success is how interactive it is. If Twitter users can participate in someway it will help spread the word to their followers, their followers followers and so on. Customizing hashtags specific to the campaign will give it some substance and also give users a way to incorporate the brand into their customized tweet. Users, whether they participate or not, will recognize the hashtag and correspond it with the brand. Another positive to the customized hashtag is that if it gets popular enough, it will become trending so that all Twitter users will see it. In 2011, Volkswagen Brazil was promoting their new car, the Fox, through Twitter and Google Maps while also sponsoring the sold out Planeta Terra Festival. Volkswagen had hidden tickets to the concert throughout the city and the only way that these tickets could be found was if the hashtag #foxatplanetaterra was used. Every time someone tweeted this, a map showing the location of the ticket would zoom in and after time it would show where the ticket was. The hashtag became trending within two hours and remained there the entirety of the campaign.
A big trend in social media is live tweeting during events or conferences. This gives an inside perspective to those who are not in attendance. Tweeting pictures, quotes and just statements of what is going on gives a personal appeal to followers. Promoting the event a few days in advance is necessary and then when the event is happening, there should be a consistent stream while using a hashtag dedicated to the event. During the PRSA 2012 International Conference, many accounts partook in live tweeting while using the hashtag #PRSAICon.
The last and possibly the most important key to a Twitter campaign is being consistent. Nothing looks worse than an account that has sporadic activity. This looks unprofessional and makes it seem as if the brand does not see the Twitter audience as one worth focusing on. An example of Twitter done right is how Wells Fargo has a consistent stream of tweets. One thing that stands out about their Twitter is that they have many tweets that are responding to users questions and statements. This shows that Wells Fargo obviously cares for their followers and customer base.
On another note, Twitter campaigns can often go awry due to the uncontrollable opinions of users. The best defense to an unhappy tweeter would be to respond and find out how to fix what it is that upset them. This shows that the organization is aware of the issues and making an attempt to keep everyone happy.
October 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
Knight Capital Group is a financial services firm that experienced a debilitating trading glitch which caused rapid buying and selling of stocks. The technological malfunction occurred in early August and resulted in a pre-tax loss of $440 million. This loss was greater than the firms second quarter revenue of $289 million.
A few of the stocks included in the fluctuating buying and selling were Goodyear, Manitowoc and China Cord Blood.
Knight Capital issued a press release the day after the incident stating the issue, “As previously disclosed, Knight experienced a technology issue at the open of trading at the NYSE yesterday, August 1st. This issue was related to Knight’s installation of trading software and resulted in Knight sending numerous erroneous orders in NYSE-listed securities into the market. This software has been removed from the company’s systems. Clients were not negatively affected by the erroneous orders, and the software issue was limited to the routing of certain listed stocks to NYSE. Knight has traded out of its entire erroneous trade position, which has resulted in a realized pre-tax loss of approximately $440 million. Although the company’s capital base has been severely impacted, the company’s broker/dealer subsidiaries are in full compliance with their net capital requirements. Knight will continue its trading and market making activities at the commencement of trading today. The company is actively pursuing its strategic and financing alternatives to strengthen its capital base.”
The firm used the scapegoat crisis management strategy by blaming the issue on a new trading software that it had recently installed. The definition of scapegoat (crisis manager blames some person or group outside of the organization for the crisis) corresponds with Knight Capital’s actions with the software being considered the “group outside of the organization.”
The firm had a speedy reaction to the situation (press release within one day) and it’s August volume statistics show that numbers were still rising despite the catastrophic loss. It states that the market making trade volume in September was up 39.5% from August.
I believe that the firm made the right decision by blaming the software, because this makes it merely situational. Although it does damage the organization’s reputation, it is not irreversible. Technology is the culprit which makes it easier to be sympathetic towards Knight Capital than it would be if it were due to human error. Since the software has been removed it can be assumed that circumstances have changed and that this will not happen again.
September 21, 2012 § Leave a comment
Progressive’s idea of damage control for its questionable decision in regard to the Katie Fisher case was releasing a statement on its website (after the trial was complete, nonetheless) tacking the blame on law in Maryland. The public comment states that when there is not sufficient evidence declaring who was at fault in an accident where one party has Underinsured Motorist coverage, it must be brought in front of a jury in court with the provider of said coverage (Progressive) as the defendant.
The trial would have never been necessary if Progressive paid the Fishers the full claim of $75,000 from the Underinsured Motorist coverage.
Rather than attempting to justify its actions with a single statement full of double speak, Progressive should have recognized its obvious mistake of siding with the defendant with a more hands on approach. It’s clear to everyone that Progressive is in the wrong so apologizing will show that the organization is admitting fault in the situation.
The two main publics are current and prospective customers.
To deter current customers from withdrawing their business, Progressive should send statements through mail/email to all current policy holders. The statements should read something along the lines of “the situation was the decision of a few and it is being dealt with internally, but does not represent the organizations ethics as a whole.”
On the other hand, prospective customers are seeing all the backlash from many sources, including various social media outlets. Progressive should intimately acknowledge the situation on all active platforms. Social media gives Progressive the chance to keep the public updated on the situation on a more personal level and allows the organization to voice its own opinion. The letter that was sent to current customers should be posted to the organizations website as well.
Prospective and current customers will obviously receive different treatment. Current customers have already invested time and money into the organization therefore they will receive a more personal and immediate response (ie. the letters).
Public relations is more appropriate in this situation than advertising or marketing. PR can give a more proactive solution. For example, other than apologizing and clearing their name through statements and social media, they can partake in philanthropic efforts. Donating time and money to causes such as RoadPeace will give a personal appeal to Progressive.
Progressive’s “resolution” gave the organization a very stubborn face and did not help with reputation management at all. Despite everything, the loss of a life (life of a paying customer to be exact) should have been enough for Progressive to do the right thing in the first place.