KitchenAid Turns Social Media Fail into Reputation Win

How a nasty post became a boon for housewares giant

Now Kitchenaid can add itself to the list of companies who’ve run into social media crises stemming from an apparent slip of the mouse. Right smack in the middle of last week’s presidential debate, this post went out from the official @KitchenAidUSA Twitter account:

“Obama’s gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president’. #nbcpolitics

Obviously, this was not a scheduled tweet, nor was it an attempt at shock marketing by the very benign maker of housewares. As the Twitterverse was told a lightning-quick eight minutes later by Cynthia Soledad, senior director at KitchenAid (someone give that woman a raise by the way, talk about on the ball!), someone had accidentally posted what was intended to be a personal message to the company feed.

The offending post was quickly deleted, and in between profuse apologies to Obama and his family, Soledad accepted responsibility for the mistake of her team member and assured stakeholders that the person at fault “won’t be tweeting for us anymore.”

Within three hours of the initial tweet, Soledad was speaking with web media like Mashable, which helped ensure that there was no room for damaging rumor and innuendo to creep into the story.

KitchenAid really put on a clinic in online reputation management here. From the near immediate response time and mea culpa, to the rapid connection with media outlets that would put the story right where stakeholders were looking for info, Soledad led her team to a perfect performance.

We often talk about crises as opportunities to further your reputation and move forward as a company. Well, here’s a perfect example. The social media analytics pros at SimplyMeasured put together several reports on the incident, and revealed some telling figures – KitchenAid actually added 1,700 Twitter followers the day of the disaster, and the brand was mentioned by many of Twitter’s top dogs, including celebrities, major retailers like Sears, and high profile media outlets the world over. Of course, the story was also picked up, and the company’s performance lauded, by many blogs like this one as well, furthering the online reputation management benefits of the whole situation.

Well played KitchenAid, well played.

The BCM Blogging Team

Comments 3

  1. Tony

    While they were able to turn it around quickly there was still a financial impact that would still have happened. According to A Symantec survey last year of 1200 global companies. On the average the financial impact was $4.2MM.

    My new startup would have stopped that tweet from ever going out in the first place.

  2. Jonathan Bernstein

    Tony, good point and you also succeeded in getting my attention. I just sent you my email address via your business “holding page” asking for more info :-)


  3. Pat Elliott

    Well played? As a cancer survivor and patient advocate I found the tweet deeply offensive and will never purchase a Kitchen Aid product again. Yes, an apology and termination were good moves, but not enough as they don’t appear to have recognized the broader impact this had or the other stakeholders who were impacted.

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