Social media can be a tricky place for brands at the best of times.
The world of social is truly owned by consumers, and brands need to understand the challenges and responsibilities that come with that. Recently convenience retailer 7-11 was called-out by the very consumers who are engaged with the brand when they ran a Facebook post without thinking through the broader ramifications.
With high profile media coverage of accusations the company has been underpaying staff only recently slipping off front pages, 7-11 ran a facebook post showing a well dressed young buck taking his gf to the local convenience store for date night. The post was accompanied by the line; ‘When pay day hasn’t come, but you want to spoil your bae…’
The post immediately attracted the ire of several Facebook users with one commenting; “The irony of 7-Eleven putting up a meme with ‘Is it pay day yet’,” and another; “What if payday hasn’t come because you’re illegally underpaying workers?”
The post was intended as part of an integrated promotion for ‘7-Eleven Day’ when they offered a free medium Slurpee or regular coffee with any purchase. But a lack of sensitivity around how the post would be received has created unnecessary negative brand sentiment. That being said, to some extent this kind of slip-up is part and parcel of brands being active on social media. Without condoning the slurpee-like brain freeze of this post, in social it is as much about how you handle a slip like this than whether you can avoid making the odd blue. And in this case 7-11 have handled the situation and brand fall-out quickly and effectively. The post was promptly removed (a clear sign they are well connected to their social activities) and an apology provided (some businesses find ‘sorry’ the hardest word to say. But those who are comfortable with direct apology have a distinct advantage when they stuff-up).
7-11 is a brand who clearly invest in social media engagement and with posts attracting thousands of ‘likes’ and hundreds of comments they have built a valuable brand asset. This recent issue demonstrates that in online marketing as in life, mistakes are going to happen – the critical factor for the brand is how well you deal with them quickly, directly and with honest humility.