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Social Media and Crisis PR: A Lesson from FabFitFun

What happens when a business makes an unforced error on social media? They need to take their crisis PR response seriously and fix the underlying problems to show customers that it won't happen again.

I had the opportunity to talk with Melissa Daniels at Modern Retail about a crisis PR mess at FabFitFun. 

You really need to read about their advertising blunder on X and the massive customer backlash. 

It's a rollercoaster. 

"...on social media, purported users now say they are leaving after the company ran a now-deleted X ad earlier this week that read:
“Happy Holidays! FabFitFun is pledging an additional $100K of X advertising in support of its free speech ideals. And to all of you looking for a perfect gift this holiday, we’re giving a free $300+ gift with your first box for new annual X users.”
The ad then instructed people to “Use code: GoFuckYourself.”

When there's a mistake like this, it's important to offer an apology. Still, organizations must fix the underlying problem or process and reaffirm their values. 

Operationally, organizations need to go further to provide offers and value for the customers they've already lost.

In this case, the operations team must work with and listen to the crisis PR team to make sure their response goes beyond words and into action. 

Here's what I had to say:

Mark Nicastre, founder of PR and crisis communications firm Fitler Square Strategies, said that the ad was “an unforced error on a  platform that really doesn’t natter to them.” With an audience of millennial women, advertising on X — or even referencing Musk’s controversies — doesn’t make much sense, he said. 
But when brands find themselves backtracking from a public statement, it’s important that they share their values and process, Nicastre said. 
“There needs to be larger questions and a recognition for the organization,” he said. “What does this mean for the founders, for leadership, and how do they bring customers back?” 


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