Instant Karma. It’s Gonna Get You.

We live in an instant world. As communicators, we know news becomes stale quickly, and staying fresh and relevant often requires action in minutes rather than days or even hours.

But the instant timetable doesn’t mean messages reflecting your brand should ever be issued without thought, and without a filter.

Chrysler’s “Imported From Detroit” campaign is a bold move for the normally staid Big Three auto company. The campaign kicked off on Super Bowl Sunday with ads featuring Detroit’s own Eminem, not exactly your prototypical Chrysler spokesperson. The ads not only tout the luxury of the new Chrysler 200 model, but also send the message that Detroit itself is on the comeback trail and is once again the motor city.

It’s a great marketing campaign designed to show potential car buyers that Chrysler offers a meaningful difference they should consider when purchasing or recommending a car.

The comprehensive campaign includes social media with Chrysler accounts on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Unfortunately, an employee of a social media agency working with Chrysler recently sent a Twitter message he thought was only going to his friends; it actually went straight to Chrysler’s 7,500 Twitter followers. The post not only contained the harshest kind of profanity, the profanity was aimed at drivers. Detroit drivers.

The mistake was amplified as the post was redistributed virally and became the subject of news stories, resulting in some very undesired attention for Chrysler. The young man apologized for the error, but it has cost him and his now former co-workers dearly. He lost his job and Chrysler has chosen not to renew the account with the agency.

Even though we realize you must be fast to be timely in today’s environment, legendary basketball coach John Wooden’s advice comes to mind. He constantly told his players, “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” Speed is only an advantage if it is purpose-driven.

We have responsibilities for many of our clients’ social media updates. We believe no message should ever be sent out without putting it through a simple filter. We always ask, is the message “on brand?” What kind of impact could it potentially have on our client? Even the most seemingly benign posts need to be strategy-driven. If it’s off strategy, don’t hit “send.”

Remember too, we are all the stewards of our own personal brands. Even if you’re posting to your personal account (or think you are), you are influencing the way others see and think about you. That advice your dad gave you about never sending a letter you’ve written in anger without waiting to be absolutely sure you aren’t just acting in the heat of the moment? It serves as a pretty good social media filter too. Double-checking to make sure you’re hitting the right button doesn’t hurt either.

— Tom Heapes, TCG Senior Communications Consultant

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