A social media influencer went on a Twitter rampage claiming that a personal care company’s products were unsafe and retailers should pull them off the shelves. When confronted on-line with the facts, the situation escalated with the attacker questioning the company’s ethics and integrity. The 3D team was challenged with addressing a “twitter tantrum” that had the potential to ignite national headlines and damage the company’s solid reputation.
The 3D team launched an investigation to answer the “who and why” behind this crisis. After conducting a quick analysis, they discovered that an OBGYN with a best-selling healthcare book and a loyal social media following was behind this negative campaign. The 3D team then dug further to uncover that she had a history of mounting social media attacks on personal care products timed with promotion of her upcoming books. They immediately confirmed that the attacker had a new book in the works and was using this rampage to promote her new book and sell her loyal followers subscriptions to her new website, all which could be worth millions of dollars.
Executives were angry and wanted to mount an aggressive response. The leadership took pride in their company’s 50-year track record of success with their loyal customers. 3D advised the leaders that the best thing to do would likely be the most challenging – stop responding. While the company went silent on social media, 3D got them ready to respond to reporters. Company spokespeople were coached to appeal to journalist’s personal integrity and legal responsibility to “fairness and accuracy” pointing out this was not a news story, but rather a pernicious attempt at personal marketing. Specifically, the company asked enquiring reporters to consider the source, because a medical license is no guarantee of expertise or of fairness and accuracy.
At first, leadership expressed concern with 3D’s strategy, as it seemed counter-intuitive. In a few short days, their anxiety was replaced by amusement, then relief. Because of the “silent treatment,” the attention seeking doctor lost interest – and the sensationalism dwindled quickly.
3D’s crisis strategy, customized to both the needs of the circumstance and the company, delivered a simple but effective solution that limited any impact on the business and maintained their positive reputation.