Don’t. Just don’t. “There’s no such things as bad PR” .. ? I don’t buy that for a minute.
Firstly, I would like to go ahead and state my opinion on the Kenneth Cole Twitter issue: Whoever sent that tweet, whether it was Kenneth Cole himself or just a representative of the brand, should have known better. If you are doing well enough in your career to work for a brand like Kenneth Cole, you should have enough common sense not to post insensitive tweets. And that’s what it comes down to — the post was entirely insensitive. Kenneth Cole later posted on the Facebook page a very weak apology and many users commented saying how others can’t take a joke and the public doesn’t have a sense of humor — but this isn’t a personal account; this is a brand account. There is no excuse to post without thinking.
That being said, I not only would have apologized to my audience but given a much more sincere apology than they did. I think in the case of the insensitive KitchenAid tweet, their response was spot on. The individual at fault was fired and the apology was genuine. Kenneth Cole’s half-hearted apology didn’t really do much for me.
My advice to the Kenneth Cole brand for future ventures in social media would be to better train the people they allow to post from their accounts. They hired someone who made a joke about a national uprising where people were being beaten and killed — that was the first issue. They need to hire people with strong ethics who would never even dream of making an insensitive joke then posting it on the Internet for the company’s followers to see. My second piece of advice would be to follow Zappo’s lead and set up a Twitter account for their head honcho to tweet from to lead back to their official Twitter. People may be more interested in a successful person than a successful brand but personality should also come across in the brand’s social media identities as well.
I think this attempt at upping their social media presence would be part of the game plan to rebuild Kenneth Cole’s brand reputation. They would need to prove that they care about crisis situations and I think for their brand to become more philanthropic would greatly improve their image.