How To Damage Your Brand In One Tweet

Steve Fogg —  October 4, 2012 — 5 Comments


It takes a lifetime to build a brand’s reputation and only one tweet to destroy it.

I know it may have been a community manager who tweeted it out, who may or may not have been happy in their job. But it shows the significance selecting who you put in the community manager’s chair.

Your social media community managers are your online brand ambassador. It’s a big deal.

Kitchen Aid’s Head, Cynthia Soledad responded immediately to limit the damage to the brand on Twitter. But the reputation damage was done. More significantly for Kitchen Aid the damage was probably done in their target audience. Here are a few things you can put in place to limit the possibility of this happening and what to do if it does happen.

1. Have a job description which clearly articulates a community managers responsibilities.

2. Have a social media policy. This will clearly articulate what they can do and can’t do.

3. Have a crisis communication plan in place. Beyond twitter. You need to act quickly. I checked Kitchen Aid’s website and there were no updates to their press room. (Hint give a senior spokesperson access to your twitter account very quickly)

Now it’s only one tweet and the person got fired. Perspective is a good thing. But imagine if this happened at your church or non-profit. What would you do? When would you even find out? Here are some more great examples of an online meltdowns and errors.

What examples have you seen of tweets gone wrong, and do you think that KitchenAid have handled it well or can do anything differently?


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5 responses to How To Damage Your Brand In One Tweet

  1. Wow – I just don’t get why someone would think that tweet is appropriate going out from anywhere, let alone the KitchenAid account. Policy or no, common sense should tell you that tweet is a no-no.

    I manage the social media for my church and am getting ready to work on SM policies, especially since there are certain accounts we allow others to post from. Don’t want this happening to us!

    • KitchenAid is owned by Whirlpool so I’d expect that they would have a sm policy. You can’t stop ppl doing silly things, it’s all in how you recover and plan for any such occurrence :-)

  2. My guess is that the tweet was meant to come from the person’s personal account and they didn’t realize that they tweeted from the wrong account until it was too late. It’s a good lesson that everyone can learn: if you’re the social media person for your organization, don’t sign into your personal social media accounts at work. Accidents happen, and this one was epic and damaged the brand.

  3. I get what you’re saying, but really KitchenAid is KitchenAid. I know they’re the Rolls Royce of kitchen mixers and I’d still buy one, no matter what some moronic social media lemming has said on their feed.
    I predict this won’t effect their bottom line by even a fraction of a percent (although it might end up with someone’s actual bottom being effected)

    • Hi Neil,

      The CEO did a good job of following up with media and it may all be a storm in a tea cup, but it does cause reputation damage and brands need to have plans in place on how to deal with rogue tweeters.

      The average twitter peep doesn’t care that it is a rogue person, all they see is the brand and that is who needs to know from KitchenAid that the person who tweeted doesn’t represent the company.

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