Lessons we can learn from BOA’s social media crisis

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Would you buy the products of a famous company with a cheap price? You answer maybe yes. But if this company post some unacceptable words on the internet or deal with this kind of emergencies improperly, would you still be their consumers? Today, let’s take a look at a case about Bank of America(BOA) to know how can a bad social media crisis management affect a company.

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On June 1st, 2016, Christine McMullen Lindgren, a banker of Bank of America, wrote “I hate face book for this reason you f –king, n—-rs, go back to Africa get over your pity party you created this hatred.” This post insulted numerous black people, including millions of consumers of BOA. As the result, plenty of people not only commented on this post to express their anger, but also criticized Bank of America for recruiting such a racist. The following pictures are some comments left at this post.

Although the management of Bank of America fired Christine in the morning on the next day, most of the consumers were still disappointed with BOA because it only posted a short and insincere statement without any apologize on its Facebook account and Twitter account. But the communications between BOA and its consumers on social media make the situation better. Therefore, with these obvious advantages and drawbacks, this crisis management is just ok instead of good or bad.

3As for the advantages, the first one must be the rapid response for the emergency. BOA dismissed the worker in the morning and posted it on the Internet when they started work, which prevented the ridiculous racist rant from making the public angrier. Besides, its Twitter account “Bank of America Help” listened to the public and added comments when appropriate. To be honest, this is really a good way to deal with the social media crisis which doesn’t have a big negative influence. After all, accompanying the people who add comments on the social media can show how earnest the company is.

However, the boring microblog made the efforts mentioned above somewhat useless. It only stated the decision of the management but didn’t apologize or show their determination to change this.1

We have to know, this is not the first time for BOA to be involved in the discrimination and racism. Just three years ago, BOA paid $2.2 million to 1,100 black job seekers it discriminated against. So, such an insincere statement could destroy the trusts of their black consumers since they would think BOA only want to weaken the post’s influence instead of solving the problem. After all, when solving problems, digging at the roots is better than hacking at the leaves. Moreover, they should communicate with the public on Facebook instead of Twitter because this happened on Facebook and Facebook was the place people focused on the most. In this way, although they did make efforts, but they chose the wrong platform.

VH cong vu & giao tiep cong soIn my opinion, this crisis caused by employees’ improper behavior could have been avoided. For BOA, a good way is to create rules to restrict its employees’ discriminatory words and behaviors, which can have a bad influence on the company. If BOA let its staff know discrimination is with serious punishments in the company, this kind of troubles will be avoided easily. Of course, a better way is to let the staff develop the awareness of equity. This can deal with the underlying cause.

In the case of BOA, its bad PR made its good marketing kind of useless. BOA invested almost 1.7 billion dollars every year in the past several years, which was indeed a big deal. But a bad social media crisis management let lots of consumers stop using its cards.

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Now, come back to our question, would you buy the products of a company which annoyed you even if their products are cheaper? The answer is obvious. So, we can see, the marketing is more important for acquiring potential consumers and maintaining existing consumers, and the public relation is more important for dealing with crisis to prevent it from generating bad influence. All in all, to make a company successful, both of marketing and public relation are important.

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