Gini Dietrich

Ocean Marketing Fired and Crisis Managed

By: Gini Dietrich | January 23, 2012 | 
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As most of you know, N-Control recently was the brunt of a social media consultant gone rogue.

The issue was a N-Control customer sent an email asking why his delivery was delayed and, taking the role of customer service, the company’s social media firm, Ocean Marketing, responded, IN WRITING, in ways most of us would never even think to do.

The issue was told over and over again on Reddit, giving N-Control a PR crisis they never could have expected…all from hiring the wrong firm. And it made the rounds on a lot of the blogs the week between Christmas and New Year’s. It has not been a pleasant few weeks for the video game controller company.

But they recently took control of their own destiny, fired Ocean Marketing, and hired Moises Chiullan to help them discuss delivery issues with customers.

And the first thing Chiullan did is take them to Reddit, to address the irate customers who, to this point, have pretty much been ignored.

Chiullan talked to The CMO Site about his strategy and how he helped to turn around three weeks of an absolute mess.

I did some research and thought, ‘These guys are getting destroyed on Reddit, and a lot of these people don’t appear to know who actually owns the company.’ Going to Reddit became a top priority. It was the best way to interact with a large portion of the audience in a direct, transparent manner.

But it presented a special challenge in that Reddit allows pseudonyms and rarely do you know who the person is behind the computer screen on the other end. As well, users can vote comments up or down, which means, unless they really like what they had to say, N-Control conversations could be voted down and the Ocean Marketing debacle will still be found on top.

Keeping all of this in mind, Chiullan launched an Ask Me Anything comment thread for N-Control and let users take the stage.

While the client didn’t answer the questions, Chiullan fielded hundreds of questions and users voted it up so many time, it landed on the home page of Reddit and garnered attention from Venture Beat and other major tech blogs.

We don’t know how or if this affected sales at N-Control, but it is a great step in an effort to gain goodwill for the company.

The only advice I have is they should have had someone from N-Control, not the PR pro, answering questions. It took him more than two days (with little to no sleep) to get through all of the questions, so I understand why they didn’t.

But this is the new world. People don’t want to hear from the middle man; they want to hear from the company with which they do business.

It’s inevitable. You are going to experience a customer service issue that becomes a PR crisis. Take notes from Domino’s, FedEx, and N-Control in the right things to do.

Answer the criticism where it’s the loudest (YouTube for both Domino’s and FedEx and Reddit for N-Control). Be human. Be open and honest. Answer in real-time. And always, always, always say you’re sorry.

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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