Do you run a company in the United Arab Emirates? Are you the marketing or community manager of a UAE brand? Consider getting some media training in Dubai from an agency specializing in crisis management coaching. Read on, and you’ll understand why.
On 8 September 2014, frozen pizza company DiGiorno jumped on the bandwagon of a trending Twitter hashtag: #WhyIStayed. It was a decision the company would soon regret, leading to a social media crisis DiGiorno probably wished they had more professional media training to manage.
Effective Trendjacking by Snickers
Riding on popular trends is called trendjacking, and it can be an effective way for brands to gain phenomenal reach. Earlier that year, Snickers had successfully trendjacked a Uruguay vs Italy World Cup game.
On 24 June 2014, Uruguay’s Luis Suarez bit Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini. In response to that incident (that got Suarez banned from the sport for a few months), Snickers tagged Suarez on a tweet that said, “Hey @luis16suarez. Next time you’re hungry just grab a Snickers.” An image featuring a cross-section of a Snickers bar with the caption, “More satisfying than Italian” accompanied the tweet.
That Snickers tweet was a hit, creating a sensation among online marketers. It was probably one of the incidents that got brands eagerly looking for their own trendjacking opportunity.
Unwise Move by DiGiorno
The trendjacking success of Snickers is probably what led to the DiGiorno fiasco barely three months later. When the hashtag #WhyIStayed started trending, the person behind the frozen pizza company’s social media communications thought it had found its moment and tweeted, “#WhyIStayed You had pizza.” It was obviously an attempt to say the brand’s pizzas are so good and worth staying for.
Unfortunately, the hashtag was the chorus that represented a movement involving victims of domestic abuse bravely baring why they stayed in abusive relationships. You can imagine how the pizza company’s tweet came across as not only inappropriate but also tone-deaf and insensitive. It also seemed like the brand made light of the movement when it took considerable courage for women to reveal themselves as victims of domestic violence.
DiGiorno’s tweet went viral in seconds, and countless people called out the brand. DiGiorno deleted the tweet within ten seconds, but the damage had already been done.
DiGiorno’s Adroit Social Media Crisis Management
Fortunately for DiGiorno, the person who fumbled (or the company’s social media or community management team) probably had some media training. It was a pretty deep hole the brand fell into, but it was able to dig itself out through some adroit media maneuvering.
DiGiorno provided a straightforward apology that read, “A million apologies. Did not read what the hashtag was about before posting.” Short and sweet, it admitted how it messed up but offered no excuses. The tweet remains up on X (formerly Twitter) at the time of this writing.
However, the brand did not stop there. It started personally responding to tweets that tagged it about the issue. The personal apologies, like the general apology, offered no excuses and did not attempt to deflect responsibility.
They also appeared to have been written by a single person. They used the first-person I instead of we, such as “I am so sorry about this,” “I didn’t realize,” “I didn’t understand.” This made the apologies feel sincere and personal.
More importantly, they subtly distanced the brand from the mistake. The way the apologies were phrased made the mistake seem more like an oversight by one person who was unwise and careless instead of it being the stance of the company.
Takeaway: Get Some Media Training
Media training will prove invaluable if you ever find yourself the recipient of unwanted viral attention. It equips you with the necessary skills to handle the rapid spread of information and intense public scrutiny that often accompanies such situations.
1. Crisis Communication Skills
Media training teaches you how to communicate effectively in a crisis. It helps you craft clear, concise and empathetic messages that resonate with your audience. This skill is crucial when addressing misunderstandings or controversies that have escalated on social media.
2. Message Control
In a viral situation, the narrative can spiral out of control quickly. Media training prepares you to steer the conversation in a more positive direction. It teaches you to stay on message, avoid common pitfalls and deliver your points in a way that’s less likely to be misconstrued.
3. Dealing With Hostility
Negative social media attention means hostile comments and criticism. Media training equips you with strategies for dealing with hostility without escalating the situation. You learn how to respond calmly and professionally, even under pressure.
4. Understanding Media Dynamics
Knowing how the media operates is crucial. Media training offers insights into how stories spread, how narratives are shaped, and the role of different social media platforms. This knowledge is vital for navigating viral situations effectively.
5. Non-Verbal Communication
In video responses or live streams, your body language and tone are as important as your words. Look at how this top Dubai presenter does it. Media training helps you master non-verbal cues, ensuring your demeanor communicates sincerity and confidence.
6. Preparation and Practice
Media training involves simulated scenarios that help you plan for a crisis. This practice enables you to think on your feet, handle unexpected questions and remain composed, all essential in managing a social media crisis.
Don’t Get Caught Off Guard
Social media has turned everyone with a smartphone and an internet connection into a journalist. Media training has, thus, become more crucial than ever.
Media training will equip you with the tools and give you the confidence to manage your image and message during a social media crisis. It will help you do damage control and even turn a crisis into an opportunity to reinforce your brand, broadcast your values, and forge deeper connections with your audience.
Jinky Elizan is a content writer for SEO Sherpa. She has more than 17 years of experience in producing content for SEO, inbound marketing and link building, as well as in creating copy for web pages and social media. She also develops WordPress websites.