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KitchenAid: An Excellent Example in Social Media Crisis Communications

04 Oct

I often talk and show examples of the mistakes companies make when it comes to their social media crisis communications and planning. But when a company does it right, and enables themselves to take a social media issue and refrain it from becoming a crisis, well, I just LOVE to share those success stories and cases! There’s just as much to learn from the success examples as there is to learn from the failed ones. Today, I have a good example to show you!

We were all there for the little KitchenAid mishap on October 3rd, when a rogue tweet got sent out by a representative of the company who meant to send it from their personal account. The tweet said:

Well, you can imagine the Twitter storm that broke out about this disrespectful and unacceptable tweet about President Obama’s dead grandmother! But I’m not here to talk about the issue. Instead, I’m here to talk about Cynthia Soledad, the leader of the KitchenAid brand, and what a superb and compassionate job she did at handling the unpleasant and viral situation.

What is it that I often talk about in terms of social media crisis communications? Let’s see (to name a few)…

  • Confront the situation head-on with no b.s.
  • Quick and real-time responses and updates
  • Compassion, sympathy and transparency
  • Humanize your brand
  • State what you’ve done or are doing to fix the situation
  • State what you’re doing to make sure the situation never happens again

And what did Soledad do? She aced it all! Let’s take a look:

This is the official statement Soledad issued to Mashable:

“During the debate tonight, a member of our Twitter team mistakenly posted an offensive tweet from the KitchenAid handle instead of a personal handle. The tasteless joke in no way represents our values at KitchenAid, and that person won’t be tweeting for us anymore. That said, I lead the KitchenAid brand, and I take responsibility for the whole team. I am deeply sorry to President Obama, his family, and the Twitter community for this careless error. Thanks for hearing me out.”

 Here’s what she put out on Twitter:

And Mashable wasn’t the only one she @mentioned to give a statement to.

What a phenomenal job at regaining control of, minimizing and resolving the situation. She nailed each one of my bullet points above and gives us all an excellent example to learn from!

Way to go KitchenAid!

9 Responses to “KitchenAid: An Excellent Example in Social Media Crisis Communications”

  1. Christina McKenna October 5, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    Great post. Do you think this at all has to do with the frequent practice of companies relegating social media duties to people who tend to lack other experience? I'm not sure if that's the case in this example, but I have a number of clients that surrender their social media accounts to the youngest and least experienced people in the office because a) they're comfortable (sometimes too comfortable) with social platforms and b) don't have much other work. Discretion doesn't seem to always be a deciding factor.


    • Melissa Agnes October 6, 2012 at 9:00 am #

      Hi Christina,

      Great question! It really does depend case-by-case. However, you're correct that many companies put their youngest staff in charge of managing their social media accounts because, as you've said, they're comfortable – and yes, sometimes too much so! That's why, no matter what, it's so important for companies to have both a social media policy AND a social media crisis communications plan in order to know how to react and respond when something upsetting and potentially viral happens.

      This KitchenAid case is a great example of the right mindset to have!

      Have a great weekend, Christina!


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