By Geoff De Weaver, CEO + Founder Touchpoint Entertainment Inc. https://geoffdeweaver.com/
In my last article I highlighted the immense brand mismanagement woes that companies that should have know better, have been inflicting on themselves and their stakeholders. It seems most implausible that the Management and Board Levels of: FIFA, Volkswagen, Kodak and Nokia demonstrated such ignorance of the value of their brand. They acted unethically and behaved deceptively on a global scale thus diluting the value of their brand and its equity. This was a huge mistake, especially since social media marketing, with its global reach and speed only magnified their mismanagement.
I think it is important, that I emphasize the critical importance of brand equity and emphasize the negative impact of what VW and FIFA, in particular, did this past year in destroying trust and badly eroding years of global goodwill, loyalty, trust. Their actions create a barrier to new competitive promotional efforts as well as putting many of their existing partners and sponsors ‘off-side’.
The following certainly summarizes the scandals engulfing both VW and FIFA: ‘BAD NEWS SELLS. If it bleeds, it leads. No news is good news, and good news is no news.’
Basically, those are the ‘classic rules’ for the evening broadcasts and the morning newspapers, based partly on data (ratings and circulation) and partly on the gut instincts of producers and editors. Wars, earthquakes, plagues, floods, fires, sick children, murdered spouses — the more suffering and mayhem, the more coverage. This type of bad news creates headlines and has a big run in the media, but it is definitely not good for business! BOTH VW and FIFA Boards should have known what was happening and never allowed this type of deceptive and untrustworthy practice to creep into their organizations. As it cost them their most valuable asset, industry and consumer…
I recently read a very clever slogan that played of VW’s current slogan and I thought is perfectly summarized the essence of the VW Brand today: Das Auto — or Das Cheaters?
VW’s biggest long-term concern is reclaiming consumer trust. YouGov BrandIndex, (www.brandindex.com/) which tracks consumer perception, found that Volkswagen’s U.S. score plummeted to -24 as of Sept. 22 from 12 just before the scandal broke. Negative tweets about VW jumped to 99,900 during the week from Sept. 18 through 24, compared with 1,187 in the seven days before the crisis, according to Amobee Brand Intelligence. http://amobee.com/
In the Age of Digital Disruption; Social Media can disrupt any company’s brand in the marketplace as evidenced by VW, FIFA and as mentioned in my previous post, Kodak and Nokia. Here are a few key factors that all CEO’s, CMO’s and Board Directors MUST take on-board
Social Media can disrupt your company because:
- Nothing Dies on the Internet – With social media, nothing ever seems to die and gathers momentum, depth and breadth. Once a Twitter or Facebook thread or conversation starts, you’re going to be battling it or handling it forever. Even if you manage to put a particular topic behind you, it can resurface at any time. Ashton Kutcher learned this with his defense of Coach Joe Paterno (Penn State). Of course, that was before he knew the circumstances (according to him), but that defense likely will never die. Unfortunately, FIFA and VW will have a similar ongoing crisis to overcome too.
- Vortex of Anger and Terror – At no other time in modern history, has news, results and scandals travelled global with such speed, velocity and power. One slip or lie today and the whole world knows instantly. Companies, businesses and careers can be wiped out. There’s no containing social media – it’s a maelstrom and can leave a long and lasting trail of destruction.
- Plan for a Crisis BEFORE it happens – It was quite clear to me, that Volkswagen must have had a well-thought crisis management plan for this type of situation. Because, after the crisis became public, the company was very transparent and admitted the alleged claims. They also tried to take public responsibility for what happened and the company’s CEO has resigned even though he said that he was not aware of the matter. Their message has been clear on every channel: ”We messed up. We are sorry. We will fix it.” But this takes time and requires very deep corporate pockets…
(Note: Volkswagon USA Twitter Post September 24, 2015)
4. FIFA on how NOT to have a Crisis Plan – Football’s governing body FIFA has had its reputation dragged through the mud in recent months as claims of unethical behavior within its ranks have multiplied and surfaced. FIFA must now understand and act upon the following if they are to remain viable in the future. They need to:
- Promptly address all claims and allegations. Deal with all issues immediately and quickly.
- Have a plan and execution strategy in place. Including: Spokesperson, staff and customers all with one voice.
- Accept immediate responsibility – In FIFA’s press conference Sepp Blatter insisted there was no crisis. “Crisis. What crisis?” he said. Blatter brushed off suggestions that the election should be suspended and insisted that “FIFA is strong enough that we can deal with our problems inside FIFA.” When embroiled in a crisis, the individuals that lead an organization or industry body need to take full responsibility apologize and be empathetic to victims.
- Always be open, authentic and transparent AND…
Use all Social Media channels – Social media tools such as Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to ensure you can get your message out quickly. You cannot over communicate in a crisis, so ensure your spokespeople are media trained.
In conclusion, both FIFA and VW had dramatically different ways to handle their PR Crisis’s using social media. There’s the right way (e.g. VW) and the wrong way. (FIFA)
At this point, Volkswagen seems to have gone the right way as they handled a bad situation well and the reactions from the public on social media are slowly beginning to show signs of hope. The company has communicated consistently and have clearly shown that they are ‘owning’ up to their mistake and taking serious measures to fix the harm done.
On the other-hand, FIFA with Sepp Blatter at the helm did not conduct itself well. They even failed to follow, the basic set of primary Twitter metrics every social marketer should be tracking, especially in case of crisis. These metrics are volume, reach and engagement. But even more importantly, they mislead sponsors, their fans globally as the deep rooted corruption in their organization surfaced. When sponsors like: Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Visa and Budweiser called for Sepp Blatter to step down immediately as FIFA president to allow the beleaguered organization to restore public confidence in its leadership. The question remains, has Sepp Blatter mortally wounded FIFA?
Remember ‘mistakes’ can also be very important learning experiences! AND… “Humility is the only thing that can restore a relationship, when respect has been lost.”
Stay Passionate and win the day!
More About Geoff De Weaver:
Hailing originally from New York; Geoff De Weaver is the globally experienced entrepreneur, technology disruptor, trend hunter and keynote speaker behind Touchpoint Entertainment Inc. Geoff is an international business executive with 25+ years experience on five continents in the rapidly-changing media, digital, telecommunications, communications and entertainment industries.
Geoff has a global 25-year background of representing some of the world’s most iconic worldwide brands including: Coca Cola, IBM, IMG, P&G, Microsoft, Nike, British Airways, Wells Fargo, EA Sports, MasterCard, Shutterfly.com, EA.com, E*Trade, Nestle, Air France, AT&T, VISA, Unilever, EA.com, Ferrari, American Express, P&G, Trend Micro, Acer Computers, BMW, Shutterfly.com, Mars, Pfizer, TiVo, EarthLink Internet, American Express, Telstra, Weight Watchers and others.
As CEO + Founder of Touchpoint Entertainment Inc., the ‘next-generation’ Social Media Marketing, Big Data and Live Event Company – streams live to over 1.55 Billion fans globally and delivers authentic brand experiences worldwide. I help brands bridge the gap between CONTENT, COMMUNITY + COMMERCE and delivers authentic brand experiences worldwide. Geoff also has comfort in operating in truly globalized markets.
C-Level, Marketing Strategy, Digital and Communications Leader with Global Experience – including: US (New York City + San Francisco), Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Italy, Germany, Brazil, South Korea, Columbia, Finland, Hong Kong, Mexico, Netherlands, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, China, Indonesia and Canada. Geoff has served as a non-executive director, director and advisory boards.
- Geoff has served as a non-executive director, director and advisory boards
- Top 0.5% Worldwide on Twitter Globally
- Top 1% Influencer on LinkedIn and 32+ million network on LinkedIn worldwide
- Top 1% Most Viewed Profiles on LinkedIn (400+ million members)
- Geoff is a Digital Pioneer, Data-Driven, Entrepreneur, Business Coach + Innovator.
- Transformative, Innovation & Digital Disruption – CONTENT, COMMUNITY + COMMERCE
Feel free to get in touch with Geoff for further information:
You might enjoy these recent posts too:
Does Disruption Resonate with your Board? https://geoffdeweaver.com/does-disruption-resonate-with-your-board/
The Ten Commandments of the Digital Age https://geoffdeweaver.com/the-10-commandments-in-the-digital-age/