#Cairo Kenneth Cole is an American clothing brand named after the designer himself February 3, 2011- Kenneth Cole used uprising in Cairo to promote spring collection Used the trending topic #Cairo to create buzz and generate traffic to website Tweet provided direct link to collection
How the public reacted Public was outraged by the offensive tweet Kenneth Cole seen as insensitive toward the situation in Egypt Negative comments toward brand on the internet "And the days award for corporate insensitivity goes to: Kenneth Cole," wrote Nick McMaster on Newser Fake Twitter feed @KennethColePR mocked designer “People of Haiti, fall into our store for earth-shattering savings! #KennethColeTweets” “People from New Orleans are flooding into Kenneth Cole stores! #KennethColeTweets”
How Kenneth Cole reacted Took down post within a few hours Apologized for tweet on Twitter and Facebook Laura Kline, spokeswoman for Kenneth Cole, confirmed that the designer himself had written the original tweet and the apology
Kenneth Cole’s apology“I apologize to everyone who was offended by myinsensitive tweet about the situation in Egypt. I’vededicated my life to raising awareness about serioussocial issues, and in hindsight my attempt at humorregarding a nation liberating themselves againstoppression was poorly timed and absolutelyinappropriate.”- Kenneth Cole, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer
How Celeb Boutique reacted Public had similar reaction Celeb Boutique also took down tweet and publicly apologized right away CB said that they didnt check what the trend meant "We are incredibly sorry for our tweet about Aurora - Our PR is NOT US based and had not checked the reason for the trend, at that time our social media was totally UNAWARE of the situation and simply thought it was another trending topic - we have removed the very insensitive tweet and will of course take more care in future to look into what we say in our tweets. Again we do apologize for any offense caused. This was not intentional & will not occur again. Our most sincere apologies for both the tweet and situation. - CB"
Impact on Kenneth Cole Brand Tweet was harmful to brand image Overall reputation was not severely harmed Crisis not in the news for very long Handled crisis well Not involved in other major crises Kenneth Cole as a person and CEO Directly said it However reputation was not severely harmed either Supports other social causes that positively portray him Intentional?
Impact on industry and public relations Social media is huge today Directly interact, build relationships and inform Companies need to monitor their social media 24/7 Companies should be respectful of current events Not capitalize on them! “Hijacking” hashtags Changes meaning of hashtag Influence of social media in crisis Sent instantaneously- everyone can see right away Company can respond to crisis right away Need to check and confirm information before it goes viral Think about audience- put yourself in their position BEFORE posting
The Page Principles “Listen to the customer” Original tweet made company seem insincere Customers didn’t think tweet was funny Didn’t fulfill public’s wants and needs “Tell the truth” Acknowledged situation and publicly apologized Didn’t just take down post or justify position “Prove it with action” Acted immediately Didn’t wait to respond “Realize a company’s true character is expressed by its people” Kenneth Cole himself had written tweet and apology Face of the company