Holidays are always a great opportunity to implement advertising strategies that help us connect with our audience and obtain greater engagement, as well as increase sales. However, some campaigns may not turn out as planned and cause a reaction of rejection among users.
This is precisely what happened to the thrift store, wallapopwhich last Sunday, in celebration of Mother’s Day, sent a notification that simulated a missed call on the user’s mobile with the following message: “Mother. Lost call. She is calling you to sell what you don’t use ».
This seemingly innocuous message quickly caused the discomfort of several Internet users who did not hesitate to express their discontent on Twitter, such as the case of a user (@merylou), who stated that her mother had died five years ago, pointing out the unfortunate nature of the campaign. The message caused a great impact, with multiple retweets and more than 20,000 likes.
My mother died 5 years ago. Today my heart almost jumped out when I got a notification that says “Mom. Missed call.”
I don’t know, maybe it’s not very accurate. Give it a spin pic.twitter.com/lPbiJQfqIs
— Lucía M. Taboada (@merylou) May 7, 2023
In this situation, wallapop repliedalthough not so quickly, since he did it the next day in the morning, with a post on Twitter in which he apologized for the whole incident, alleging: «We did not take into account all the realities of our user community, and the notification involuntarily recalled situations that caused pain and sadness.
Our most sincere apologies… ⬇️🙏 pic.twitter.com/j43yn7NZF9
— Wallapop (@wallapop) May 8, 2023
Luckily for Wallapop, his sincerity and his ability to accept and admit his mistake led to the crisis being resolved. @merylou herself accepted the company’s apology and the fires were put out before starting a much larger fire.
5 lessons we can draw from the Wallapop case in the face of possible communication crises
Taking this event as an example, today we want to share 5 valuable lessons that can help you avoid a communication crisis in the future.
@marketing4ecommerce On the #Wallapop controversy for #Mother’s Day 🤔 Which team are you from: offended, libertarian or customizer? #DiaMadre #MuerdeLaPasta #Trend #NoticiaDelDia #wallapopfails #Marketing #RedesSociales #trendingtopic ♬ Caramel Latte – Prod. By Rose
1. Know your audience
Before launching any type of advertising campaign, it is necessary to have a deep understanding of our audience in order to really adapt to your reality. The more data we have about our customers, the less likely it is that our messages will cause annoyance or rejection.
For example, the Twitter user @raulcoñe shows an email that he received from the company Bite the Pasta, a couple of weeks before mothers day. In the message, the company asks its users whether or not they wish to receive notifications regarding that celebration. An intelligent way to anticipate a possible inconvenience generated to the user, and which also allows to know it more in depth and advance in the always valuable path of content personalization.
A few weeks ago I received this email from Bite the Pasta and I thought it was very accurate. pic.twitter.com/36LL9t406x
– Raúl (@raulcoñe) May 7, 2023
2.Try to put yourself in the shoes of your entire audience
Before launching any type of communication or campaign, it is important to analyze whether the message may offend or hurt some users and if that is the case, consider modifying the message or simply not doing so. For this to be possible, it is necessary for the entire communication team to internalize the importance of respect for diversity, taking into account the race, religion, sex or sexual orientation of the users.
Respect is even vital at other levels, such as using inclusive language or accessibility orientation, for example making subtitled videos for people with hearing disabilities. In addition to this, it is necessary consider other special conditionsas in this case, the fact that some users may have lost their mother.
In the event of a crisis, the most important thing is react in the shortest possible time, setting a position that makes your users feel cared for and heard. In this case, Wallapop has taken a day to respond to the user, who has accepted her apology. However, if it had been done before, the commotion and discontent on social networks could have been avoided.
4.Assume mistakes and apologize
When we are faced with a crisis, it is crucial to assume the errors responsibly and ethically, apologizing clearly and honestly. Without excuses. A positive point for Wallapop.
5. Learn from mistakes
We know that mistakes and problems are inevitable, but the most important thing is learn from them so as not to make the same mistake again. The communication team must work in a coordinated manner to internalize the lessons learned from a crisis like this so as not to fall into it again.
What not to do before a crisis
We already gave you some keys to avoid a crisis, but we also want to share with you some actions that can sink your reputation.
Direct confrontation: Any response that seeks to “defend honor”, deny the facts (if they exist) or accuse others of lying, is the equivalent of being the head of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and saying “we are going to overheat the reactor and cut refrigeration to see what happens. Lying: they are going to catch you and you are not going to solve anything. There are more explanations. The truth ahead, please. The Boeing case with the 737 MAX should be an example to the world. Coercion and/or threat: “If you do not remove this publication, we will put the case in the hands of our legal advisors” is like entering the gas meter room with a match because it is very dark. Most likely, the online reputation of your company or organization will only be a crater and a smoking shoe. Allow lay people to decide how to respond: As bosses as they are, they have to learn that they need professional help. And if they don’t have it, they must urgently look for it. If you hold a position of responsibility or are the owner of the business, nothing to do the Rambo and think “I’ll fix this in 5 minutes”. Seriously, you have a lot more money at stake than you think. Ignore, block and/or delete comments: if someone comes into the office yelling Fire! I imagine your answer will not be “Leave it, it will turn itself off”, right? Well, giving silence as an answer is absolutely useless. But you put it to me if you decide to block or delete the comments of someone outraged. The rule is to respond to comments and blocking or deleting can only be used in highly valued cases: foul language or inappropriate insults, recalcitrant trolls immune to irony and few others.
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