As I lay in bed about to open my book to do some nightly reading, I took a quick moment to do one last scan of Twitter and Facebook, when I came across this video:
After a little digging I found that this issue originally arose at the end of 2011, but it seems it may have just begun. After Bo Muller-Moore’s KickStarter project got funded in March 2012, it seems he’s in the process of creating a documentary on how this fast food franchise has been going around scaring little businesses out of business. With the heat that Chick-Fil-A has found themselves in these past couple of weeks, this two minute video can be enough to refuel the engines of all those who have been voicing out, boycotting and attacking the brand online.
We saw a similar situation to this one earlier this year when Lassonde got caught attempting to run a small, local business into the ground for using the word “Oasis” within their product name. In the span of 4 days Lassonde saw their tables turn and felt the wrath of social media bear down upon them – not to mention upon their bottom line when many of their customers, angry with the lack of apparent morals of the mega corporation, boycotted their products.
Bo’s video is creative, interesting and has the potential to go viral, while Chick-Fil-A’s reputation is currently under scrutiny and utterly vulnerable at this point. We may have the perfect recipe for yet another social media crisis before us…
What should Chick-Fil-A do?
For starters, Chick-Fil-A should be preparing to protect themselves by doing a minimum of the following:
- At this point, Chick-Fil-A should be monitoring. As the video grows in views and the documentary nears release, Chick-Fil-A should be thoroughly monitoring for any mention of their brand combined with any number of targeted keywords that could mean people are talking about them and/or this documentary/situation.
- While they monitor, they should be developing holding statements and a social media crisis plan. They should be identifying each and every potential risk that lays before them and devising a strategic plan to a) eliminate any risk that can be prevented; and b) react and respond to any risk that is not preventable at this point.
Chick-Fil-A is in a vulnerable position right now, and this can potentially be a major risk for the brand. But as luck would have it, they are aware – or at least they should be. They issued the cease and desist letter and they, if they’re doing basic monitoring for social and online mentions about their brand, should be aware of this looming threat. Catching wind of a potential crisis before it materializes is a major advantage – one that you don’t always have the luxury of having. If they’re paying attention and are aware, then they have a major advantage to turn this situation around. If they aren’t paying attention, well, the risk is all theirs and with the state the brand is currently in, quite a risk it is indeed!
You can bet that I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears open for this one and will let you know what comes of it, in either case!
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.