Build-A-Bear opted to run a one-day pay-your-age program on July 12, 2018. The announcement went viral. Many parents and children were looking forward to paying a couple of dollars for a bear. Therefore, they rearranged their schedule and brought their excited child to Build-A-Bear locations in the morning. At numerous locations, lines formed by 3:30 AM with multiple families waiting five and six hours. Later, there were not enough supplies for the event. Instantly, Build-A-Bear had a nightmare on their hands with kids and adults screaming foul at the company. Therefore, all United States operations closed by early afternoon. While the company chose to issue $15 off vouchers to angry customers, many were not pleased. The company, however, is not the first to have to deal with a marketing disaster. Before you find yourself in this position, here are some things you will want to keep in mind.
One area where Build-A-Bear excelled is they acted very quickly. While the event was still going on, they realized that they had a problem and issued vouchers. Then, they posted the voucher online in case anyone missed getting one. While the voucher was not as good as the original deal, the company also opened it up to all members of their loyalty program. The next day their CEO made a public statement.
The first things that companies need to do after a disaster have occurred is to respond thoughtfully. According to a study performed by Harris Interactive, 33 percent of people who posted a negative review posted a positive review once the company responded. Another 34 percent withdrew their original comment. After an initial press release, they stated that they were sorry that officials in many areas had forced them to close down. In turn, they reminded customers that children could get a birthday bear for their age during their birthday month. The company remains silent while customers ranted on social media.
Have a Crisis Management Team in Place
Every company should have a team in place to deal immediately with public relation disasters. This team probably should consist of public relations representative, human relations representative, legal representative, and marketing people. The team should already have in place guidelines to follow if a disaster occurs. Therefore, crafting a statement quickly is vital. Then, one person should be responsible for directing all actions from that point forward. Responding politely to all comments is essential to keep a situation under control. Never let viewers see a company lose their cool online.
Create guidelines when it comes to what individuals in the company can and cannot say about their workplace on social media. After all, it only takes one comment posted in haste to make a bad situation even worse. Remind employees that anything they say online can have repercussions throughout the company. This policy prevents any trouble accidentally caused for the company or giving away trade secrets.
Protect Your Social Media Account
Just like humans, companies are going to have bad days. Companies should already have experienced social media managers on board to handle the good days and the bad. Protecting who has access to your account can help keep social media about an incident in check. The community manager needs to be continually monitoring anything about the company across the internet. Strict privacy settings about who can use the company account should already be in place before a disaster occurs.
Take Advantage of Problems
While you do not want to kick a company while they are down, other business owners can capitalize on a company’s problems. For example, real estate professional Gregg M Lepore offered to buy each child in a family who brought or sold a home with him a Build-A-Bear experience after the deal closes. Then, to promote his idea, he posted it on Build-A-Bear’s social media page.
There are many reasons to believe that Build-A-Bear will survive their one-day pay-your-age fiasco. Therefore, if you are a company owner or manager, then you need to take lessons from it and apply them to your company. One of those lessons is to utilize services that offer social media marketing to handle your social media presence.