The relatively recent debacle surrounding Snapchat’s ill-conceived advertisement for the game “Would You Rather?” featuring Rihanna and Chris Brown has shed light on the importance of sensitivity and mindfulness in marketing. By posing a question that directly referenced the domestic abuse incident between the two celebrities, Snapchat sparked outrage among users and drew criticism from both Rihanna and the public at large. The subsequent apology issued by Snapchat was deemed inadequate and insufficient by Rihanna, further exacerbating the situation. This incident serves as a reminder to marketers everywhere of the need to exercise caution and empathy when crafting campaigns, especially when dealing with sensitive issues. The negative impact on Snapchat’s revenue, reputation, and user base underscores the importance of understanding the values and emotions of one’s target audience and the repercussions of carelessly crossing the line between humor and harm.
In the wake of Snapchat’s ill-conceived ad featuring Rihanna and Chris Brown, it is crucial for the social media giant to take stock of what went wrong and determine how they can avoid similar mistakes in the future. Below are six (6) recommendations that Snapchat and marketers should implement in order to mitigate future unfortunate and damaging fiascos:
Conduct market research to understand the target audience: Snapchat should conduct regular market research to understand the values, attitudes, and behaviors of its target audience. This research should focus on identifying the topics and issues that are most important to its users and use this information to inform its ad campaign strategy. By doing so, Snapchat can ensure that its ads are culturally sensitive and resonate positively with its audience.
Conduct a thorough review process for all ad campaigns: Before any ad campaign is launched, Snapchat should ensure that it undergoes a comprehensive review process to identify any potentially sensitive or offensive content. This should involve multiple levels of review to ensure that campaigns are appropriate for all audiences.
Use social listening tools to monitor brand sentiment: Snapchat should use social listening tools to monitor brand sentiment in real-time. These tools will enable Snapchat to track mentions of its brand on social media, identify potential problems, and respond quickly. By being proactive, Snapchat can prevent small issues from escalating into full-blown fiascos.
Collaborate with influencers: Snapchat should consider collaborating with influencers who have a strong connection with its target audience. These influencers can help Snapchat to create campaigns that are more authentic and engaging, which will resonate positively with users. By working with influencers, Snapchat can also tap into new audiences and increase its reach.
Conduct A/B testing: Snapchat should conduct A/B testing to determine which ad campaigns are most effective. By testing different ad formats, messaging, and targeting strategies, Snapchat can identify what works and what doesn’t. This data can then be used to optimize future ad campaigns, ensuring that they are as effective as possible.
Develop a crisis management plan: Snapchat should develop a comprehensive crisis management plan that outlines the steps to be taken in the event of a social media marketing failure. The plan should include an internal communication strategy, a statement to the media, and a timeline for resolution. Having a crisis management plan in place will help Snapchat to respond quickly and effectively to mitigate the impact of any future fiascos.
To conclude, the Snapchat fiasco serves as a reminder of the importance of social media marketing responsibility. While the platform has undoubtedly suffered a significant blow to its reputation, the lessons learned from this experience can benefit all marketers. By taking a holistic approach that considers the target audience, as well as other critical factors such as social listening, influencer collaborations, A/B testing, and crisis management planning, marketers can create campaigns that resonate positively with their audiences, building brand trust, loyalty, and ultimately, driving growth and revenue.