Brown Coffee Company’s Social Media Failure
It’s understandable that something like gay marriage is a volatile subject with a lot of varying opinions attached to it. Of course, we all know the stand on opinions, as well. Another thing we should know, or at least have an idea of, is that service-based companies should probably stay away from such an emotionally-charged subject for fear of ostracizing potential customers.
Personal opinions often don’t mix well with business relationships, although, it looks like someone forgot to tell the Brown Coffee Company about that little lesson. After the state of New York passed the same-sex marriage law, the social media tubes were understandably filled with reactionary comments of rejoice and/or rejection. Again, this is completely understandable. What isn’t, however, is why a company that relies on its customers would allow one of their employees access to Twitter in order to respond with a less-than-supportive tweet, of which, a screenshot taken:
Now, the reason a screenshot was necessary has to do with the fact that the tweet no longer appears on the Brown Coffee Twitter stream. In fact, the company has made their profile private, but apparently, the offending tweet has already been deleted. Too bad they couldn’t do the same with the various screenshot-capturing software packages that are available. Once news of the tweet hit the wires, the fallout was fast. One prominent Brown Coffee Company customer, RBC NYC, has decided to cut ties with the company, all because of the infamous tweet. In order to inform the world of their intentions to end their relationship with Brown Coffee, RBC NYC took to their company Tumblr page:
Although we won’t tell you what RBC stands for, we’ll let you know it doesn’t stand for intolerance and bigotry, therefore we will not be doing business with The Brown Coffee Co. anymore.
Sprudge.com, a blog devoted to all things coffee has more on the situation:
Regarding Brown Coffee’s blog, there was an attempt to address the offending tweet, and instead of owning it and detailing the punitive steps taken after post was made, Brown Coffee decided to make excuses:
In the post, it mentioned the differences between Natural Law and Human Law and mentioned that they were different and unequal. This was a post about CLASSICAL PHILOSOPHY and LAWS (a la Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, etc.), not PEOPLE; but somehow people began to twist what was written and added their own lies to the post to mean that somehow we at The Brown Coffee Company are hateful, homophobic, intolerant people.
Perhaps a better approach would be to acknowledge the mistake, discuss the measures taken after the post was discovered, while offering some level of capitulation. Firing back with an “we were misunderstood” response only adds to fuel to the fire because it comes across as excuse-making and passing the blame to others for their lack of comprehension:
we regret that this has descended into something very ugly based on other people’s incorrect reading of the Twitter post.
So yeah, blame the ones who offended because they didn’t understand the content of the tweet in question. That sounds like a brilliant way to make amends, especially in the business world. With that in mind, considering how well the misdirection and excuse-making strategy works in the political world, why not give it a shot in the business world? Thankfully, customers like RBC NYC are wise enough to see through the facade.
Voters, on the other hand, are an entirely different story altogether.