Let’s chat about #brandchat!

Insights from my first Twitter chat

Today, I explored a different use of Twitter by participating in my first Twitter chat using TweetChat. Tweetchat is a platform that allows Twitter users to engage Twitter chats which are real-time conversations using a specific hashtag. This hashtag relates to the topic being discussed in the chat and is the key to entering the Twitter chats.

The chat that I participated in today was #brandchat. As I’m sure you guessed, the topic of the weekly chats is branding. These chats are held every Wednesday at 10 a.m. central time, each week with a different subtopic. These week’s chat was about brands and public relations nightmares. To prepare for the chat, questions were posted on the Brandchat website a few days prior.

The chat started off with everyone introducing themselves. There were many marketing professionals, business owners, and professors tuning in. There were also a fair share of #UFSMM students participating in this morning’s Twitter chat! People were extremely welcoming and gave us and the University of Florida props for getting involved!

After all introductions, we started our discussion on public relations nightmares. Questions are denoted with a Q and the question number, example Q1. When users answer questions, they start with A and the question number they are answering like A1. The first question was to list brands that had the biggest PR nightmares of all time. Some of the biggest named were BP, Wells Fargo, United Airlines, and Tylenol. When then moved on to discuss if all PR was good PR. Most everyone said no and agreed that permanent damage to a brand, lose of customers, and decrease in sales is not worth the exposure.

Crisis management is a large aspect of public relations. The next question in the chat was “what’s the first 3-steps you recommend for a brand to take ownership of a mistake/issue?” While the exact steps and order varied, all of the users in the #brandchat discussion had the same general idea. Acknowledging the issue, referring to a crisis plan, and making a sincere apology or public statement seemed to be the consensus.

There are many brands and companies that have had public relations crises or scandals that have recovered successfully. We continued by naming some of the companies that have done this and what exactly they did.

  • Toyota: The company employed its consumers to make things things right after their vehicle recall. Toyota drivers told accounts of positive experiences with their vehicles.
  • Tylenol: Johnson&Johnson took responsibility for the Tylenol bottle tampering that wasn’t their fault. This garnered sympathy.
  • Lego turned their product into a movie and used social media and marketing to regain favor in the eyes of consumers.
  • Martha Stewart kept a low profile for years before returning to the public slowly. She now stars in a television show with Snoop Dogg.

While companies work hard to avoid scandals, it’s not always that simple. This lead us to next examine ways to prevent PR nightmares. One way is to opt for transparency. Being open with the public about your dealings shows honesty and good character! Another way is to make public relations and crisis management part of the day-to-day operations at a company. It shouldn’t be a “crisis” if you’re prepared.

Overall, I found this Twitter chat to be extremely informative and enlightening. I loved the interaction I was able to have with not only my classmates but with marketing and branding experts. It gave lots of insights on branding and PR nightmares, as well as maintenance of a prosperous brand. I enjoyed the chat and a very active participant. What I didn’t know is that every week #brandchat gives a cap with the words “#brandchat BRANDido” on it to a chatter that added good observations to the chat. I was lucky enough to receive this cap on my first Twitter chat ever! I will definitely be tuning in to next week’s #brandchat!