Gini Dietrich

KitchenAid Handles Offensive Tweet Crisis Extraordinarily Well

By: Gini Dietrich | October 4, 2012 | 
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I woke up this morning to a flurry of emails about KitchenAid.

Apparently, whomever runs their Twitter account made the fatal mistake others before have done.

Brands such as Chrysler, Kenneth Cole, and CelebBoutique have all made the mistake of tweeting something offensive from the business account, when it clearly was meant for the person’s personal account.

It should be old news by now. The stray tweet, the deletion of said tweet, the apology, and the wildfire spread of people retweeting and making fun of the brand.

And yet…

Mashable ran a play-by-play of what happened with KitchenAid last night.

The Story

During the Presidential debate last night, the person handling the KitchenAid account tweeted this:

The tweet was deleted almost immediately but not, of course, before it was screen grabbed and retweeted to death.

And then something surprising happened. KitchenAid caught their mistake and handled it. Immediately.

And then, Cynthia Soledad emailed Mashable to say:

During the debate tonight, a member of our Twitter team mistakenly posted an offensive tweet from the KitchenAid handle instead of a personal handle. The tasteless joke in no way represents our values at KitchenAid, and that person won’t be tweeting for us anymore. That said, I lead the KitchenAid brand, and I take responsibility for the whole team. I am deeply sorry to President Obama, his family, and the Twitter community for this careless error. Thanks for hearing me out.

And then she tweeted directly to the President to apologize.

She did everything right. So why is this news?

The Communications Lesson

Americans love to build people (and organizations) up so we can tear them down and build them back up. We love a good underdog story. Heck, human beings love to watch a good train wreck. It’s why traffic gets so messed up when there is an accident on the other side of the freeway.

But the lesson here is in how KitchenAid handled it. They did everything exactly right. They didn’t try to brush it under the carpet. They didn’t ignore it. They handled it. On Twitter and as soon as it happened.

It was probably a long night for Cynthia Soledad and her team. Today will be a long day as they sift through the people on Twitter who are making fun of them.

But from a crisis standpoint? They did everything exactly the right way. This will be old news by tomorrow.

The Personal Lesson

There is a personal lesson in this for every one of us who handles social media for an organization.

If you manage more than one account, have a different app for each one. I get it’s hard to switch back and forth between your accounts on your phone, so figure out a different way of doing it.

It might take a little bit longer to switch back and forth between apps, but it’ll save you some embarrassment – and maybe even your job – in the long run.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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