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How Not To Handle Brand Crisis On Twitter

Posted by in Branding, Twitter

What Is Your Brand Crisis Plan?

Today I am doing something a little different. I want to share a story, a really good example of how brands should NOT handle crisis or negativity on Twitter.

One of my clients, Alexis who owns a high end diesel car dealership in the UK came to me and shared a experience she had with a brand and how it went terribly wrong.

I’ll let her share it in her own words and I will pop in at the end to share a few ways this could of been handled better, more professionally.

brand crisis

As a car business I regularly post news articles about the car trade on Twitter.

I came across and article in a main newspaper in the UK regarding a mechanic who had taken a customers car for a 118 mph joyride which had been recorded on the customers dash cam.

I was aware the business in question, and that they were on Twitter but didn’t feel the need to include them in my tweet.

This original tweet received about 28 retweets and a very small amount of attention.

The next day I realized that Pye Motors, the company in question had blocked me.

Feeling quite aggrieved by this as I hadn’t named or shamed them originally I decided to repost the article and direct it back to the company pointing out that blocking me was not necessary.

The tweet received a lot of attention fast and became a hot topic on Twitter in the UK.

As people were commenting, they too were getting blocked which fueled the fire even more.

People were getting angrier and angrier that they too had been blocked and for no real reason apart from commenting on a company who had a rogue member of staff.

Eventually Pye Motors spoke out and said they had released a press statement the week before.  I asked them to send the statement to me and I would happily retweet so they could get their side of the story across or apologize but I heard nothing back from them and they once again blocked me!

The tweet received 122 retweet’s and far more comments than I ever expected, it spiraled out of control fast due to the actions taken by Pye Motors. The story was then picked up by a large UK car magazine, due to the attention of the second tweet and the blocking of so many people.

If they had not blocked people and had made a public apology or even just ignored the hype then this story would not have reached so many people and created so much negativity.

As a small business, we have learned a valuable lesson from this about branding and how to handle a crisis.

It is key to deal with issues in the public domain as quickly as possible in the correct manner so It doesn’t spiral out of control as this has.


JP here, that’s a crazy story right?

You would think by now that brands would have a plan in place to handle any brand crisis that comes their way, but I guess not.

Here are a couple ways that brand could have handled all this.

1. Do Nothing.

Listen, I have said it before, no SM is better than bad SM. If this company would have just stayed quiet and not responded or blocked people, the story would have just died.

2. Own The F@#*K Up

This would be my choice, just own it, it’s out there so why fight it. Own the mistake and and say something like.

“We apologize to all our customers, this has never happened before, and will NEVER happen again. The mechanic in question has been suspended, fired, or whatever.”

This helps reassure your customers that you are taking this seriously, that they don’t have to worry of this happening to them, and that you handled the person that did the “crime”.

As far as the blocking, that is INSANE to me.

1. It is silly to block someone for asking you questions.

2. You may have blocked one of your long time customers.

3. Blocking DOES NOT end the conversation, worse, the conversation continues WITHOUT YOU seeing it anymore.

That brands actions took the focus and anger off of the mechanic and put it squarely on themselves, bad mistake. They let a small mistake grow into a huge issue that has now cost them who knows how many customers and potential customers.

Social Media is like Love, when it is good, it is GOOD, but when it is bad, it is BAD!

Having a brand crisis plan in place is just as important as having a plan on how to use Twitter to grow your brand.


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