This is a classic job interview interview technique: “Describe your greatest achievement!” Quickly followed by “Tell us about your biggest mistake!” …” What do you say? How honest and transparent should you be?

Experts say that sharing vulnerability will strengthen our credibility as leaders.

But putting it into practice can be more difficult. For example, I am very happy to list the calamities with which I have been involved. However, it is much more difficult to admit that the flaws or flaws of my character caused the breakup.

Many years ago, the marketing team that I was responsible for had an activity promoting concerts and events. Once we booked a few shows with the act of dance “Technotronic”, on the heels of their great success “Pump Up the Jam”, which hit # 2 on the Hot Billboard 100.

Without our knowledge, there was more than one group of people turning in “Technotronic”. Alas, the people we had booked were not the singers responsible for ‘Pump Up the Jam’. The few people who bought tickets We are happy, leaving us to appease disgruntled dance fans. It is easy to look back and laugh at that, but it is much more difficult to admit that my lack of attention to detail and the concern of the contract have contributed to the problem.

Talk about failing quickly. Skip quickly? It took me 20 years to admit it.

Humility is for brands as for people

If the big marketing leaders need to show their vulnerability, how should the brands we are responsible for behave? What should brands do when mistakes are made?

KFC has just offered us a salutary lesson. The global chain of fried chicken has recently changed the UK’s distribution terms, and these changes in the supply chain have prevented fresh chicken from reaching many stores. This led to the temporary closure of more than half of their outlets. The following is a communication master class. A perfect blend of context and content.

With humility, empathy and humor, with a landing page experience where customers can check the status of their own local restaurant, messaging is completely compatible with the brand. KFC manages to achieve the impossible, allowing the everyday consumer to take the side of big business in this time of crisis.

Logan Harrington, head of public relations and social media at Quadrant2Design, analyzed KFC’s communication skills in a blog post from which I extracted the following crisis communication tips:

  1. Act fast. & # 39; Fess fast.
  2. Get all your inner team on the message, factually and tonally.
  3. Communicate constantly and honestly.
  4. Do not blame anyone. Less of all your own people. They are your best bet for getting out of the mess you have created.

KFC’s Contextual Intelligence: A great brand including the absurdity of the situation that she created. A chicken shop fried without chicken. They used a human touch to navigate skillfully in the storm.

It’s this contextual intelligence that our brands and ourselves should emulate. This means that you must have and show a simple and realistic understanding of your place in the world and the place you occupy in people’s lives. KFC customers may miss their favorite fast food restaurant, but they will not starve.

Unfortunately, a chicken-free KFC is the least of the worries for most people. Most marketing people do not save lives. We simply add a little more choice, convenience or pleasure to this thing we call life. Being human means that we all have occasional problems. And while we try to fail faster, it will be our humanity that will allow us to quickly resume and let the world be better.


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. The authors of the staff are listed here.


About the author

1511286293 397 its time to kill the 39 cookie monster 39 of the internet - What we can learn from the recent KFC debacle in Britain

Malcolm Cox is marketing director of Grapeshot, a role he has endorsed after gaining experience in the media, music and agency fields. Malcolm spent thirteen years working with the music and media company Emap, where he created the Magic brand and launched Kiss – both radio stations – and the weekly revitalized music magazine Kerrang! After Emap, Malcolm founded the Naked Lunch brand activation agency. Here, he has created an award-winning work for Sony, Nokia, Kickers, IKEA and Nike, residing at the Naked Group as a director after selling the agency in 2008.

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