Hacky Hashtag Leads to Reputation Risk for IBM

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    Tech giant fails to predict a negative response

    Misguided attempts at creating viral social media campaigns are constantly leading to crisis, yet organizations of all kinds continue to utterly fail to predict potential negative reactions. Case in point, IBM ticked off a hefty number of Twitter users when it attempted to launch a campaign pushing for more women to enter STEM careers. Certainly a good cause…but you kinda spoil the whole statement when you decide to use the hashtag #HackAHairDryer.

    Females from STEM fields and their supporters were quite understandably offended, and took to Twitter to mock the campaign with shares like this:

    Facing mass criticism that quickly bled over from social media into more traditional channels, IBM removed content created for the campaign from the web and canceled any further promotions stating, “(The video) missed the mark for some and we apologize. It is being discontinued.”

    The sheer frequency of these events is what led us to create our AvoidTheApology service, and although there are alternatives to placing a foot firmly in one’s own mouth we’ve no doubt many will continue to fail to predict the consequences of their actions.

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy, author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is vice president for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]

    – See more at: https://management.org/blogs/crisis-management/2015/12/07/what-happens-in-a-social-media-minute/#sthash.FIrWfbrs.dpuf