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A ‘racist’ product video

What happened?

Back in 2016, a Chinese laundry detergent went viral around the world for the wrong reasons. In the ad, a lady puts a packet of detergent into a black man’s mouth and shoves him into a washing machine. In the next scene, a fair-skinned Chinese man emerges, hinting to the ‘cleansing effect’ of said detergent.

In a largely mono-cultural country like China, no one saw anything wrong with this. But once it went out to the rest of the world, a global chorus of people made their feelings against the racism heard.

How could this have been prevented?

Keep a pulse on social media

Use a social listening tool or service, and have someone constantly receiving alerts on email or through an app.

Create meaningful content

While many content creators go all out for the ‘gram, brands need to avoid going viral for the wrong reasons.

Respond proactively

Have a statement ready to quickly put out the spark of a crisis. Otherwise, others may add more fuel instead.

Keep a pulse on social media

Social listening used to be an expensive service only subscribed by enterprises. Today, the introduction of many nimble social media startups have levelled the playing field and made it more accessible to businesses.

This service works by having a social listening system crawl through billions of online chatter to pick out specific keywords. Much like anything related to social media, this is easy to do, but difficult to do well.

Pick a broad keyword, and you get drowned by too many false positive mentions (and you gegt overcharged by the service provider). Define your keywords too tightly, and nothing gets flagged out to you.

Bottom line – you need someone who actually knows how to manage a social media listening service, to get the right alerts defined and running for you, 24/7.

Create meaningful content

What drives engagements? To some content creators controversial, offensive content is the way to go.

As a brand, you need to know that the while the payoff for a viral stunt is huge, if you overstep the line and trigger an online outcry, that can easily spill over to the traditional news media, your offline brand reputation, and your bottomline.

So does this mean you just create ‘safe’ insipid content? Certainly not! But it means you need to set clear boundaries on how far you are willing to cross, and share that across your marketing teams.

Beyond that, also consider how you facilitate and guide the content ideation process. We can help develop a flexible content framework that manages risk while keeping the creativity juices flowing.

Respond proactively

When the shit hits the fan and your brand needs to step up to address hordes of angry people, are you ready for it?

Often, a brand is caught with their pants down when they struggle to issue a statement or response hours after a crisis breaks. And when this happens, the issue will take a life of its own as trolls and rumour-mongers control the narrative.

To address this, first be aware of the risks that are always present, or have a chance of flaring up. Second, ensure that you have a plan to address them, to the public, reporters or even your regulators or the police.

If this is all news to you, we need to help you address this immediately.

Use our Social Media Risk Calculator to find out your Risk Exposure Score.

Let’s Chat About Your Social Media Risks

Gary, Co-founder and Lead Consultant