We’ve all been there.  What seems like a great idea at the time turns out to be a major PR disaster or creates a situation that sets your marketing team back to square one.  Whether it was Chevrolet trying to sell the Nova in Latin America (for the non-Spanish speakers, that means “no go” when translated), New Coke’s terribly misaligned re-formulation and the marketing surrounding the release, or the Kenneth Cole #Cairo tweet during Arab Spring, no one is too large to blunder.  Or too big to make a mistake.  Or immune to doing something foolish.

Including us.

Never mind that the mistake was a simple one, and could most likely have been avoided; never mind that it was not made maliciously, or that it snuck up without warning.   A mistake is still a mistake and the best we can hope for is to correct it and not make the mistake again.

The point of this blog entry is to remind ourselves, and everyone else, that making sure that what you do with your PR and marketing is what you should be doing.  Before you enter into an agreement with a third party provider, do some research and find out what results have been for others.   Make sure the platform allows for the type of automation or third party service before you sign up and test it.  Just as AppGratis learned that because a couple of Appstore reviewers were ok with their solution did not mean that everyone in the department had signed off on their program.

Unfortunately for those making mistakes, there are often harsh punishments, as each of the examples I’ve listed found out after the fact.   I realize that learning from your mistakes is all well and good, but they never come at times when it’s convenient to have a problem.

The smartest marketing plans also include some form of crisis management in them – and the plans vary according to the level of the crisis…  web host overloaded by too much traffic?  Have a backup in place with cloud or some other means to cover it.  Power out at the location where you were set to make a big, splashy launch?  Have an alternate space close by in mind that you can fall back to if needed.   Account suspended by Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc?  Be ready to beg for the suspension to be lifted or have at least one or two other accounts that can fill in while you’re haggling with them over the status.   VP of Sales falls and breaks a leg just before a critical presentation to VCs?  Make sure someone else knows the presentation and has practiced it with the VP before the unthinkable happened.  Because it will happen.  Just when you least expect it.  And when it’s the most inconvenient timing for you.

There are always three plans –

  • Plan A – things are great, peachy keen, we’re all as happy as pigs in, well you know what pigs like.
  • Plan B – Houston, we have a problem.
  • Plan C – It’s time to ‘C’ your way out of this mess.

And with that, we’ll be doing a bit of C’ing this week.