In today’s dynamic and ever-changing world, brands are struggling to find the words and ways to deliver their message to customers. More often than not, we see brands get into social media crises because their campaigns are tone-deaf, poorly thought out or even offensive. 

On the other hand, some brands are successfully navigating the social media universe (and beyond) and thriving as a result.

The great thing is that we all can learn from both worlds.

That’s why we decided to pay closer attention to what’s happening in the PR & Marketing world every month and share our insights with all of you!

Each month we’ll highlight three main stories, both good and bad, and give our assessment of what we can from them. Also, we’ll add some honourable mentions of news that we didn’t analyse in-depth but are worth mentioning.

Burger King’s Women’s Day tweet

“Women belong in the kitchen.” 

These are the words with which Burger King UK started their Twitter thread on Women’s day. 

Their goal was to shine a light on the fact that only 20% of chefs are women and announce new scholarships that would help women pursue their “culinary dreams”.

The tweet immediately sparked backlash on social media because using sexism for promotion didn’t sit well with the audience. After some push back against outrage, Burger King deleted the tweets and issued an apology.

To make things worse, Burger King US bought a full-page ad in the The New York Times with the same headline. 

To get a better insight into the situation, we analyzed mentions of Burger King in the last month and created a sentiment analysis that you can check out below.

In the analysis, you can see that Burger King saw over a 7 million per cent spike in impressions compared to the previous month. Furthermore, predominant negative sentiment was visible in all social media platforms and websites, not just Twitter.

Even though some say that the campaign worked better in print, we have to take into account that it’s much easier to immediately react to something that is posted on social media, than something that is printed out in newspapers. But, even that didn’t stop some users to take photos of NYT ad and post them to Twitter.

What can we learn from this?

In this case, the medium wasn’t the problem – the message was. Yes, the printed ad provided the context right away, but it still didn’t change the fact that Burger King chose to include the sexist line that is still to this day used to belittle women.

They sure did attract attention, but not to the fact that they’re trying to empower women to pursue their dreams. That information was overshadowed by the lazy, clickbaity headline.

Nike’s new maternity line ad features pregnant and breastfeeding athletes

In contrast, Nike showed how championing women’s rights and women empowerment can be done without taking bombastic, some would even say a sexist, approach.

In their campaign called The toughest athlete in which they promote their newest maternity line, Nike (M) features mothers and pregnant women who are also professional athletes. The ad is showing women doing sports while pregnant, and also breastfeeding and playing with their kids. 

The main campaign message is that you can get stuff done, no matter what.

It’s important to note that two years ago, Nike faced backlash because they reduced sponsorships payments to athletes when they got pregnant. Since then, they’ve changed their pregnancy policy and started a maternity line. 

What can we learn from this?

The main thing that we can learn from this campaign is that positive and empowering messaging is what customers want and appreciate. In a time when most of the world is struggling, customers don’t want to see one negative thing after another every time they turn on the TV or log in to their social media channels. 

Words matter, and when brands (especially global ones) use positive and inclusive language to talk about different social issues it can make a difference. Brands are starting to realize that they bear responsibility and play important roles in changing old, and often offensive narratives.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show losing viewers

It was recently reported that the new season of The Ellen DeGeneres Show has lost over a million viewers in comparison to other seasons. This is probably a direct result of the toxic work environment allegations from last year.

Because of that, three producers were fired and many speculated what the future of the show will be like. Ellen started the latest season with an apology, both private and public, but it seems that many viewers didn’t care.

What can we learn from this?

The reason why this hit the viewers hard is that Ellen’s core message is to be kind to one another. She even said in the apology that “being known as the “be kind” lady is a tricky position to be in”.

What we can learn from this is that discrepancy between company culture and public image will bite brands in the back sooner or later. Many are focusing on creating the perfect public image, that they often forget that employees are their greatest asset for doing so. 

In the age of social media, the chances that you can get away with toxic behaviour in the workplace are close to zero. With everything that happened in the past couple of years, from the #MeToo movement to the Black Lives Matter, people are finally encouraged to use their voice and speak up against discrimination and violence. 

What employers around the world need to do is listen and work towards creating a safe and healthy work environment for everybody.

Honourable mentions: social media platforms releasing new features left and right

March was a month full of social media news.

In the next chapter, you can see which new features will soon be available on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

Twitter announcing and testing new features

In March, Twitter announced two new features – Super Follow and Communities. The Super Follow feature will allow users to charge other users to see specific content for $4.99 a month.

The Communities feature is essentially the same as Facebook groups. Users will be able to create groups based on specific interests and topics.

As of yet, Twitter didn’t specify the exact release date for the features.

Another (potential) feature that sparked interest was the “undo” option

Before the tweet is published, the users will have a few seconds to change their minds, and undo the publishing of the tweet. It’s not the same as the “edit” option many are rooting for, but it’s a solid alternative.

Instagram announces Live Rooms

Instagram is “doubling up” on Instagram Live by allowing users to go live with up to three people. Previously, users could go live with only one other user. 

Instagram

Instagram said: “We hope that doubling up on Live will open up more creative opportunities—start a talk show, host a jam session or co-create with other artists, host more engaging Q&As or tutorials with your following, or just hang out with more of your friends.”

In their announcement, they also said that they are exploring more interactive tools such as offering moderator controls and audio features that will be available in the coming months.

Facebook is launching a tool to help find and book a COVID-19 vaccine

Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook is launching a tool that shows when and where you can get vaccinated. Plus, it gives you a link to make an appointment.

He also announced that Instagram will get Covid Information Center (which already exists on Facebook) and that they’re working with health authorities and governments to expand their WhatsApp chatbots to help people register for vaccines.

TikTok introduces anti-harassment features

Recently, TikTok introduced anti-harassment and anti-bullying feature. The feature is an expansion of an already existing option where users can filter comments that appear under their posts.

The new feature will allow users to approve comments before they’re visible under the posts. Also, users who are posting rude comments will get a chance to “rethink” whether they want to post the comment in its current form or change wording.

Aaaaand that’s all for March Edition! See you again in April!

Do you like Klara Malnar's articles? Follow on social!