How to damage your brand in 140 characters or less

By now I am sure many have heard of the Kenneth Cole tweet promoting their spring line using the situation in Egypt for increased awareness. Unfortunately, Kenneth Cole has removed the tweet, however much damage has already been done.

Kenneth Cole Egypt Tweet

Kenneth Cole Egypt Tweet

It has been the center of outrage today, both on twitter and facebook, not to mention just about a zillion blogs and media mentions. Now the company has a PR nightmare on their hands. A fake twitter account has been started in the companies name and is tweeting numerous distasteful tweets, such as the one below:

Fake Twitter Account - Kenneth Cole

Social media gone wrong at its finest. Kenneth Cole has to manage a serious situation with its brand, which they don’t even have full control over at this time. We’ll all be watching over the next few days or so to see how this pans out. How Kenneth Cole reacts will decide how well they recover. After all, we can all remember the social media catastrophe that Dominoe’s dealt with last year and their disgusting pizza making Youtube posting employees. Handled correctly, and dominoes was able to recover and turn their brand around.

Let’s see how Kenneth Cole does….unfortunately they used a very sensitive and political issue. More damaging than a few guys stuffing cheese up their nose. Take this to heart…make sure there is a very clear policy for social media in your company. Review it, implement it, and monitor it always. It only takes 2 seconds and 140 characters or less to have a social media nightmare on your hands. Manage your brand carefully!

  1. #1 by on February 4, 2011 - 10:50 am

    I saw this yesterday! I clicked on the link Kenneth Cole provided via Twitter for their apology, and it took me to their Facebook page. Most of the comments on the Facebook page were very negative, but some said they appreciated the companies recognition of their mistake. I think they were attempting to make a joke, but jokes don’t come across well over text.

    • #2 by digitalmediaspin on February 4, 2011 - 11:26 am

      I agree. I will be interesting to see how this goes. Again, with something like this – the company response makes all the difference. The trouble is they used a politically hot topic in a joking manner, which as you said – doesn’t come across well. Transparency and admission to poor judgement is key to responding – we now have to wait and see how their consumer base reacts.

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