Yesterday a friend on Facebook clued me in the obnoxious shirt on the left there being sold at JC Penney. I agreed with her assessment of the horror and immediately tweeted out a link about it. Within fifteen minutes, I’d been retweeted about 80 times, and other folks picking up the story had been retweeted a million times and… within an hour, the shirt was pulled from the site and JC Penney had issued an apology.
Now, I don’t think my friend and I led the charge at all; blog posts went up on Tuesday afternoon and it made the rounds on Facebook long before it got to me. But what I do know is that Twitter is the best place I know to catch a company’s attention.
Today Mashable posted an article about “The Anatomy of a Social Media Crisis,” based on a new report by the Altimeter Group. The report mentions that the primary source of social media crises rise primarily from “social media users venting poor experiences, but social media crises also arose from companies having poor influencer relations and having broken ethical guidelines.” (Quote from the Mashable article.)
The Altimeter Report offers companies like JC Penney some smart advice for anticipating and coping with a social media crisis. This infographic explains the Social Media “Hierarchy of Needs” they recommend.
Now, in my opinion, the problem with the JC Penney shirt isn’t with the way they responded to the social media shitstorm they endured in the last 48 hours. It lies first with the manufacturer and the folks responsible for developing the shirt in the first place. Then it lies with the team of people at JC Penney that decided that selling this shirt was a good idea. So I don’t feel like there is much grace in JC Penney’s apology and removal of the shirt. But then, I am hard to please.