The wrong political comments can equal a PR mess

the wrong political comments can equal a pr mess
With the Presidential election only days away, politicsis on everybody’s mind and invariably it can work its way into an organization’s public relations and marketing efforts. There will be hits, like 7-Eleven’s 7-Election poll, which allows coffee drinkers to choose a blue cup if they are pro-Obama or a red one if they are pro-Romney. This campaign increases goodwill and sales. (FYI: According to the 7-Eleven website, Obama is ahead 59 percent over Romney’s 41 percent.) Of course, there will also be misses, such as Kitchen Aid’s tweet after the first presidential debate. During the first debate, President Obama mentioned his grandmother. The debate wasn’t President Obama’s best outing and someone from Kitchen Aid mistakenly tweeted this from the company account, “Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! She died 3 days b4 he became president.”

To make matters worse, the tweet went viral and Kitchen Aid was left with a mess on its hands. While the head of Kitchen Aid apologized, that isn’t the kind of tweet that endears a public to a brand. This is just another example of how easy it is to send the wrong message. That isn’t to say that an organization can’t work election year politics into its messaging, it just has to be careful. How careful? These tips may help:

1. According to PR News, it is good to think before you hit send. I would add, think a few times before hitting send.

2. If what you’re thinking of posting on a social media site might seem funny or clever, get a few opinions. If there is some disagreement, don’t post it.

3. Follow 7-Eleven’s example and let others express an opinion. The 7-Election poll is a great example of using election year politics to promote an organization without taking sides or making any statements. 7-Eleven is letting its customers make the statement with blue or red coffee cups and they are reaping the benefits.

By all means, take a stand on political matters. And even more importantly, get out and VOTE! But just because you have an opinion, doesn’t mean it should be in an email or social media post. It has been said that if you want to stay on good terms with someone, you don’t discuss religion or politics. Since politics is connected to people’s values, you don’t want to come across as being on the “wrong” side. So, if you want to keep your target market, referral sources and the general public on your side, be careful about what you say regarding politics.

Unfortunately, any political comment can be taken the wrong way and it can come back to haunt you. Then, like Kitchen Aid, you are forced into clean up mode, which is not only a distraction; it can lead to lost revenue, and a marred reputation. And whether you are a fan of the donkey or the elephant, we can all agree that no one wants to be in that position.