A marketing campaign that made headlines across the UK has proved something we’ve long known here at Igniyte. Ill-thought-out marketing campaigns can sink a company’s reputation online.

Marketing is a double-edged sword

A marketing campaign is designed to generate attention. Businesses, especially SMEs with limited funds, need to create eye-catching marketing campaigns to attract customers and generate revenue. There’s a very fine line between eye-catching and offensive. If a marketing campaign features offensive content it could turn away the customers it was designed to attract.

It could also go viral on social media and even catch the attention of national press and rank for a search on Google for the company’s name. Google has over a billion users and the first page of its searches receives 92% of search traffic, according to a study by Chitika. This means a large share of the business’ target audience will see the offensive content.

Protein World marketing campaign goes viral

This theory was recently borne out by Protein World’s ‘Are You Beach Body Ready’ campaign that was featured by Transport for London in the UK capital’s underground stations. The Daily Mail reported it featured the very toned figure of a 24-year-old woman in a revealing bikini.

The ‘Are You Beach Body Ready’ campaign backfired. Two hundred people complained to the Advertising Standards Authority and said that it promoted an unhealthy body image and thousands more said the same on Twitter. This caught the attention of both the national press and celebrities such as TV Presenter Susanna Reid wreaked untold damage on Protein World’s reputation both on and off-line.

Marketing campaign angers social media users across the UK

However, Protein World isn’t the only company that’s hit the headlines for crafting a disastrous marketing campaign lately. Private bus company New Adventure Travel decided to advertise their new service in Cardiff by plastering posters of a topless woman holding a sign which said “Ride me all day for £3” across their vehicles.

As you can imagine, feminist groups were not pleased. They labelled the campaign “disgusting,” and a “terrible error of judgement” on Facebook and Twitter. The sheer pressure that feminist groups put on the private bus company on social media forced them to remove the posters in 48 hours but the damage to their reputation online had already been done.

“Threatening in tone and deeply inappropriate.”

Another recent campaign has shown how not to respond when a marketing campaign goes viral for all of the wrong reasons. The Independent reported that The Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association has released a poster that’s been criticised on and offline for its threatening tone.

The advert featured a 33-year old sufferer of MND along with the words “Last summer, I was the only person I knew that didn’t do the Ice Bucket Challenge. Five months later I was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.” The advert was slated online; one user wrote that it’s “threatening in tone and deeply inappropriate,” whilst another wrote “so, wait, what’s the message here? Karma?”

How did the Association respond? They defended it, saying that they were “surprised “by the response the advert generated. This has caused the advert to go viral and caught the attention of national press. Instead of defending the poster, the Association should have turned to crisis management.

Crisis management

These examples show that a bad marketing campaign can prove toxic to a company’s reputation online. However, the effects of an ill-thought-out marketing campaign can be mitigated with a reputation management service called crisis management. Igniyte provides a crisis management service and this includes:

  • Using tools such as Google Alerts to monitor mentions and sentiments of a brand online.
  • Developing and optimising digital assets such as social media profiles and blogs so that they rank on the first page of a search for a firm’s name on Google and displace unwanted content.
  • Regularly creating relevant, optimised content for social media and blogs to ensure they rank on the first page of a search for a business’ name on Google.
  • Creating PR designed to catch the attention of local, national and online media outlets. Press articles rank well on search engines such as Google.
  • Challenging and removing unwanted content from Google.

Igniyte’s crisis management service

Therefore as Protein World, New Adventure Travel and The MND Association recently proved, an ill-thought-out marketing campaign can sink a company’s reputation online. However, the damage can be mitigated by crisis management.

If you want to find out more about Igniyte’s online reputation management services please contact Simon Wadsworth on tel: +44 (0) 203 542 8686 or email simon@igniyte.com in confidence.

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