Social Media Mishaps and Your Brand: Think Before You Tweet

July 03 2013

                            Images via thinkprogress.org and metrocookinghouston.com

With all the news about Proposition 8, the ban on gay marriage, being lifted in California, people are bound to share their opinions on the matter. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion of course but shouldn’t certain individuals, such as CEO’s of large companies, be wary of what they say? Especially in today’s world where, with the help of social media, you can post something and millions will see it instantly. Of course you can delete an embarrassing picture or a few harsh words but nothing is ever really erased from the web.

Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A, turned to social media earlier this week. He tweeted, in light of the Supreme Court’s recent actions in regards to same-sex marriage, “Sad day for our nation; founding fathers would be ashamed of our gen.” The tweet was deleted but as previously stated, once you put something out on the Internet you can never truly get it back.

Chick-fil-A immediately provided their own statement, which read, “Dan recognizes his views do not necessarily represent the views of all Chick-fil-A customers, restaurant owners and employees, so he removed the tweet to eliminate any confusion.” This rebuttal was a smart move on the company’s part; protecting their brand should be top priority. However it is too early to know for sure how much damage Cathy’s statement will end up creating.

This isn’t the first time Chick-fil-A has had to manage their brand image because of their CEO’s public, derogatory statements. About a year ago they dealt with the cover-up of a different but similar issue when Cathy shared his critique of the government’s dealings on same sex marriage laws. At that time, Chick-fil-A issued a follow-up statement that all members of the company do not hold their President’s views.

This past month, in particular, has been full of high-profile folks being careless with what they say. Well-known chef and television star, Paula Deen, was released from her contract with the Food Network due to racial slurs, which she openly admitted using. Her empire is estimated to lose 12.5 million dollars, which is pretty serious dough. Chick-fil-A might want to plan ahead for damage control. Brands have to be managed from the top down, and a CEO who is a loose cannon in public is bad for brand image.

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