Uh oh, Bloomingdale’s. Bloomingdale’s was in the hot seat the past few days for including an offensive reference in a holiday advertisement which read “spike your best friend’s eggnog when they’re not looking.” I’m sorry, what? The first question that comes to my mind when I saw this hit the fan was for implying date rape is, how did no one seem to think “ehhh probably shouldn’t release that.” To be honest, Bloomingdale’s created this problem for themselves.
Bloomingdale’s sincerely publicly apologized on their official Twitter account like any company should do. Aside from the number of issues this advertisement sparked, it is any easy tie to crisis communications and management. Crisis management isn’t something an entry level position would be in charge of. One of the first things aspiring communications professionals should realize is crisis management and communication is an area for professionals with a more developed background who have years of experience in the industry, but it can’t hurt to take time to educate yourself on this area of practice.
Crisis communications is defined as “sub-specialty of the public relations profession that is designed to protect and defend an individual, company, or organization facing a public challenge to its reputation.” There are numerous articles providing tips and plans for what communications professionals should do when a crisis emerges. Crisis communication is interesting to learn about and is a hot topic for panels or workshops.
One of my favorite article’s discussing this topic is from Forbes, which specifically responds to crisis communication tips for the digital world. Bloomingdale’s, was mainly crucified over Twitter for this offensive reference. Twitter has become a main platform to issue complaints and understanding how to handle situations over the digital world is extremely important. Companies take Twitter complaints very seriously and if they don’t they are behind the times. Take a look at this Forbes article to get a more in depth understanding of this topic. Here are the top ten tips I find cover everything best the Forbes article offers:
- Listen and be present
- Set the right expectations
- Be transparent
- Respond thoughtfully
- Don’t lose your cool
- Have a crisis management team in place
- Manage access to your social media accounts carefully
- Post moderation guidelines
- Hire experienced managers
- You will never please everybody