Sometimes it seems as though people just aren’t learning! How many public and viral mistakes need to be made before companies decide to learn from them? If you think I’m talking about the most recent outrageous marketing attempt made by American Apparel, then right you are!
If you haven’t already heard, American Apparel thought it would be a good marketing strategy to offer their customers affected by Hurricane Sandy only, a “20% off everything” sale, just in case they were “bored during the storm”. And when did they post this campaign? Monday night, right at the peak of Hurricane Sandy’s threat.
You know how myself – and every other crisis manager who knows what they’re talking about – is always saying how sincerity and compassion go a LONG way in a crisis? Well, Hurricane Sandy was a disastrous crisis. One that had people anxious, worried and outright scared. Launching a campaign in the midst of it and being bold enough to say “in case you’re bored” is the opposite of being sincere and compassionate. In fact, the whole Twitter-shpere lit up with tweets of disgust and outrage. American Apparel was seen as heartless, self-promotional and lacking good old common sense.
So, in the spirit of not wanting to see other companies continue to make such disastrous mistakes that simply reflect badly upon themselves, please, please, please take this American Apparel lesson and learn it!
Lesson to take away from the American Apparel Fiasco
Always focus on sincerity and compassion in a crisis. When in doubt, ask yourself:
“Am I going to come across as self-promotional and pompous, or as though I really, truly care about my clients and their needs during this time?”
Hoping that all of you were safe and experienced as little damages as possible through Hurricane Sandy.
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.