Thursday, September 8, 2011

A cat-astrophic lesson in social media for bank marketing execs

There’s a lost cat at JFK airport and its causing a social marketing dilemma for one airlines. And, it’s a blueprint for disaster from which bank marketers can take note.

A little background: On Aug. 25th, Jack the cat mysteriously escaped his carrier in American Airlines baggage before his flight from New York to California. In an effort to find out what happened to the pet and garner its return, the owner’s sister started a Facebook page, Jack the Cat is Lost in AA Baggage at JFK. The Facebook page is steadily gathering faithful followers. At the two-week mark, they number over 13,000 and climbing. Fans are peppering the American Airlines Facebook day after day asking what they’re doing about the wayward feline. And, Jack’s fans have been soliciting the media for help. So far that’s been working as the New York Post, Fox News NY and ABC News among others have picked up the story. Now there’s a YouTube video. You can get the details of Jack’s story from his Facebook info page. And, you can find the meager response from American Airlines under their Facebook “Notes” section.

Slow response to viral backlash.

It’s in the slow or lack of response from the airlines that raises the cat fur. The airlines has issued notices beginning August 29, four days after the incident, and basically repeating the same message for the next several days. Their last “update” was a week ago on September 2 with promises of more updates, but none have followed. This has further infuriated Jack’s fans.
American Airlines runs Facebook sweepstakes showing pet as travel buddy.
Apparently American’s marketing department doesn’t have a clue about the negative deluge appearing on their FB wall. On that same Facebook page, they’re running a sweepstakes entitled “Who goes with you?” asking fans to take a photo of the person you enjoy traveling with the most and share it with us. The photo they depict with the contest is a pooch. Surprisingly they didn’t show a cat!

A cautionary tale for bank marketing execs.

Bank marketing departments can take a lesson from this cat-astrophe. While you may not lose a cat or any other pet on your premises, there’s a host of other problems that can befall your financial institution and a viral nightmare may be just around the corner. Is your financial institution prepared if a sudden viral plague hit your bank? Are you prepared for 13,000 angry online adversaries?

11 tips to avoid a bank marketing cat-astrophe.
1. Just because your bank doesn’t have a Facebook page doesn’t mean someone won’t launch one affecting your financial institution.

2. Have a protocol or best practices solution in place for various types of crises that could occur.

3. Include a social media solution for these identified crises.

4. Address the situation quickly.

5. First and foremost offer a sincere apology to all of your audiences and repeat, repeat, repeat. You may find yourself forgiven more easily.

6. State a plan for rectify the problem in the future so it won’t happen again.

7. Don’t disengage in hopes that the furor will disappear in time and be forgotten.

8. Remember your response or lack of response affects your brand equity.

9. Designate one person to handle the responses. Be sure that’s someone who can also put some empathy into the situation. After all, most people just want to be heard. And, discourage employee responses which will only escalate the situation.

10. Be forthright and don’t just offer spin.

11. Check that your marketing and other departments are on board with what’s being posted in social media before they run any campaign or you could wind up with more egg on your face.

1 comment:

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