Asking stakeholders to voice their opinion when you know your reputation is in the dumps is a bad idea
Interactive social media events are a great way to connect with stakeholders and build your brand’s reputation, but several major brands have already learned the hard way that these events can be a double-edged sword.
Apparently nobody at JPMorgan, which is about to be nailed with a $13 billion fine for its role in the global financial slump, studied what happened to McDonalds, among others, because the banking giant went ahead with a Twitter Q&A featuring senior exec Jimmy Lee.
The Daily Mail’s Simon Tomlinson reports on what went down:
JPMorgan last week asked users of the popular microblogging site to send questions marked with the hashtag #AskJPM in advance of the session set for Thursday at 1pm in New York.
Few questions appeared until Wednesday afternoon when responses started piling in.
Some users simply made fun of the bank’s attempt to use social media, but many others chose to insult executives or ask barbed questions about bank’s recent legal problems and corporate responsibility.
‘Reading the #AskJPM Twitter feed makes it seem JPM put a ‘kick me’ sticker on its back when it rolled out that hashtag,’ wrote a user who identified himself as an editor and columnist.
A woman who said she was a community organiser and ‘next gen freedom fighter’ asked if Lee, a vice chairman and deal rainmaker at the bank, thought it was ‘ok to outright lie, cheat and steal.’
Meanwhile, one user asked: ‘What’s it like working Mexican drug cartels? Do they tip?’
Another posted a picture of a whale spewing bank notes from its blowhole in reference to the ‘London Whale’ trading scandal for which JPMorgan was fined nearly £600million.
A woman called Charlotte mocked the bank’s attempt at social media outreach as an ‘epic derailment’ and asked: ‘Is it true that, while you don’t always spit on poor people, when you do, you have perfect aim?’
A blogger and online journalist asked about the scale of the bank’s alleged wrongdoing in electric energy trading compared with that in its sales of mortgage securities.
Another user known as ‘Guerrilla Educator’ asked if anyone in Lee’s family had ever been foreclosed upon.
Within hours, JPMorgan made its first smart social media crisis management decision in this whole case when it posted the following tweet:
Tomorrow’s Q&A is cancelled. Bad Idea. Back to the drawing board.
— J.P. Morgan (@jpmorgan) November 14, 2013
Getting out there and communicating with stakeholders is great, but when the average person on the street has more bad than good to say about you, common sense dictates that you shouldn’t ask the public to share their thoughts. We doubt JPMorgan will repeat this social media crisis management #fail, but it won’t be long until another clueless organization makes the same mistake.
The BCM Blogging Team