Protect Your Brand. It’s Not a Joke.

Humor. It’s tricky in person — with your intonation, delivery, and body language. It’s even more precarious when it’s written. Your brand isn’t a joke, don’t treat it like one.

It’s tempting to react to political news from your brand on Twitter. Unless your brand is Saturday Night Live, don’t do it. You’ll be fueling trolls and undermining your brand. It’s your brand. Protect it.

KFC and Nuclear Buttons

I rarely call people out. In this case, I’m doing it. Firstly, I grew up at the end of the cold war and don’t find nuclear jokes funny. Secondly, the situation in North Korea is serious. Thirdly, regardless of the behavior of the current President (who frankly embarrasses me), your brand should be above that.

Tweet:

Sure, at the time of this screenshot (in my tweet below), 6 hours in, KFC got 606 comments, 24,000 impressions and 49,000 likes. It’s a mistake.

The fact that KFC is calling itself KFC instead of Kentucky Fried Chicken shows that they have a history of branding issues. They had to fight fried food, are they really going to alienate the demographic that mostly enjoys it? Seriously. I’m a Republican. I get it. Let’s be serious.

In fact, I’d argue that the cheap laugh and blog posts that will be written on Mashable, Tech Crunch, and BuzzFeed might be worth it for a day for attention. But will it help sales? I doubt it.

Your brand isn't a joke. Don't treat it like one. Use restraint with current trends. Click To Tweet

The Danger of Trending Hashtags

The same advice goes for Trending Hashtags. Lazy social media managers try to jump on a trend. If you don’t totally understand why the trend is happening, you have another “Why I Stayed” scandal.

Don't fall for easy. If you don't understand the hashtag, do not use it. It's that simple. Click To Tweet

People make mistakes because of inexperience and a lack of discretion. They don’t think things out strategically and see how it will affect their brand. This is why you should never hire a cheap Social Media Manager.

It’s Your Responsibility to Protect Your Brand

Your brand is your reputation. It’s all you have sometimes when funds are light. It’s your job to protect it and assemble a team of people who have the same vision.

Levi Saunders

5 Comments

  1. Robert Nissenbaum on January 3, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    It still amazes me that brands take some of the risks they do. I am OK with pushing boundaries and being controversial. There are benefits when done right. The hard no for me….topics like nuclear war which are likely to offend.

    There is a big difference between waking the trolls and offending people.

    • Bridget Willard on January 3, 2018 at 2:51 pm

      Good point, Robert. And every boundary has a risk. I think that often, big brands feel they are immune to it, get a lot of press because, honestly it can be funny, then small businesses think they can do it, too. I saw it happen this week — a small biz using a hashtag they had no idea about. And it backfired. Because it always does — either publicly or privately. Most of us managing small business brands know that they don’t have enough volume to survive a scandal that could have been easily avoided with a bit of discretion.

  2. Justine on January 7, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    Great post Bridget! It is amazing that businesses will take risks like this. Being aware of the boundaries and how far to push are so important.

    • Bridget Willard on January 7, 2018 at 7:13 pm

      Absolutely. It takes 7-10 interactions to change a bad experience — if they let you.

  3. […] “It’s tempting to react to political news from your brand on Twitter. Unless your brand is Saturday Night Live, don’t do it. You’ll be fueling trolls and undermining your brand. It’s your brand. Protect it.” Bridget Willard […]

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