After I wrote a public Facebook Post on my personal profile last night in response to the Lasco Twitter Misstep that led to a serious backlash, I wanted to be more useful. So I decided to use the opportunity to point out what I believe are the top two lessons, all Caribbean brands can learn from this.
This is the situation in a nutshell.
On the heels of another Olympic Gold medal for Jamaica, due to the the stunning performance of 110M Hurdles Champion Omar McLeod, Jamaican Twitter was buzzing with euphoria. In the midst of that, the Jamaica Gleaner tweeted, asking its followers this question. They asked, if they could write the next day’s headline on this win, what would it be. It seems the Social Media handler at Lasco Jamaica, decided that the appropriate response was “Goldfish”, insinuating that McLeod is gay!
For my Caribbean and International readers, in Jamaica, the homophobic minority refers to gay men using the name, “Fish” . It is meant to be an insult. Hence why the term tweeted by the @LascoJamaica account giving McLeod the title “GoldFish”, was in fact, saying he was a Olympic Gold winning Gay Man. Not only do we not know if McLeod is gay, we also do not care. He just won an Olympic Gold for Jamaica for his excellence and that’s all everyone was focused on celebrating.
Needless to say, Jamaican Twitter exploded and came to the defense of Omar McLeod, calling for @LascoJamaica to apologise, calling their tweet insensitive, disgusting, unfounded, distasteful, unprofessional and way more names that we can’t safely mention here. There were also, constant calls for the boycotting of Lasco and a demand for an apology from the CEO and Founder himself Lascelles Chin.
This is how Lasco Jamaica responded :
- They published a 1st statement and apology for the offensive tweet claiming that the account was hacked. Needless to say Jamaican Twitter and by now Jamaicans on Facebook, called Lasco a liar for using this seemingly cowardly claim of hacking, to cover up what they believed was a glaring mistake.
- They then shut down the account. Up until 2a.m this morning you could not find @lascoJamaica name, at all on Twitter. This was too late however, as scores of people on Twitter had already taken a snapshot of the exchange between Jamaica Gleaner and LascoJamaica and circulated it on Twitter, Facebook and even on WhatsApp. This, is news sharing at the speed of our level of current connectedness.
- Due to the rising tide of the uproar, Lasco then quickly revised their initial statement, published a second statement – explaining that the employee behind the offensive tweet had been fired because the person breached the company’s code of conduct. They then went on to state that they celebrate and honour Omar McLeod and his amazing achievement. This was done in a matter of hours of the first one, published to their Facebook Page, which was quickly circulated, debated and commended online. Without question, Lasco must be commended on such a swift response to their crisis situation. We even saw that their second statement of apology was also published in today’s Jamaican newspapers. Now that’s how you respond to a crisis in the age of Social Media. By owning the issue, and responding swiftly.
From that account, you can see some of the things that Lasco Jamaica did right and wrong. So it brings me to the top two lessons I believe all Caribbean brands can learn from this.
Let me first say this, Social media has irrevocably changed the way we do business, offering us a new model to engage with customers, colleagues, and the world at large. This kind of interaction, helps all businesses to build stronger, more successful customer relationships, that inevitably lead to buisiness growth. It is not a fad of the youth, it is a legitimate, profit generating strategy for your Caribbean business.
Lesson #1: Educate The Management of Your Company, First.
I believe this – that which is at the head, will always manifest throughout the body. That said, I do believe that top management that is grounded in the why and how of doing business in the Digital Age, leads to better hires of internal marketing team personnel as well as external agencies.
If Management chooses to not know how Digital Marketing can work for their business, its global best practices and policies – it can lead to missteps like that Lasco misstep or worse. And while no company or digital marketing professional is perfect or infallible, these times call for us to always be learning and raising the standards by which we operate.
So, here is a quick start guide on how the CEO and Top Management of any Caribbean Business can educate themselves on doing business in the Digital Age. I am recommending books, blogs and education conferences that I believe are fundamental and excellent.
- Read these Books Now
– Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
– MeatBall Sundae- Is Your Marketing Out of Sync by Seth Godin
– Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk
– Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
Also search Youtube and watch every single video of these two marketing geniuses.
- Read these Blogs Daily
- Attend these conferences annually
Let me emphasise, an educated top management of a business, is invariably a more motivated and demanding client and that makes it better for everyone – employees, customers, digital marketing professionals. It just is what is best for the growth of #DigitalCaribbean.
2. Keep Your Company’s Social Media Policy Updated and Circulated.
I am assuming that your Caribbean Business has a Social Media Policy already in place. A social media policy, (also called a social networking policy) is a simply a corporate code of conduct that provides guidelines for employees who post content on the Internet, either as part of their job or as a private person. It sets the tone and expectations for appropriate behavior and ensure that an employee’s posts will not expose the company to legal problems or public embarrassment.
With this Lasco Jamaica Twitter Backlash still fresh on all our minds, maybe now is a good time for you to review and update your brand’s social media policy guidelines. Then refresh the memory of your marketing team and staff, by circulating it to them, again.
Further consider this, Lasco Jamaica is a publicly traded company, it has shareholders to answer to and it is in the middle of expanding, so this was NOT a great thing to happen at this time. It literally could have cost them way more brand equity and real loss of dollars. So, it was good for them to have moved so quickly. I would to see them take it further, by embracing Omar McLeod in a special way only the Lasco brand would.
This was indeed a prime teachable moment!