Megan D’Arcy, PR Consultant
All eyes were on America last weekend for the Superbowl. This national event always provides some interesting social opportunities for brands, for example Oreo showcased their incredibly quick turnaround time during the blackout in 2013. This year was no exception.
Beyonce released her new single, Formation, just before her halftime performance and the internet went crazy. It’s a rare and wonderful opportunity when a celebrity, such as Beyoncé, endorses a brand by mentioning it in a single. Yet that is exactly what happened to Red Lobster, an American restaurant chain.
Fans of the chain, and Beyonce, waited for the brand to respond, however the 250,000+ tweets that mentioned Queen B’s shout out to the restaurant went ignored for eight hours. With other celebrities also jumping into the conversation, this truly was Red Lobster’s golden hour. Yet, somewhat embarrassingly to the brand, their comms team took the entire night to craft the perfect response, which turned out to be less than satisfactory.
— Red Lobster (@redlobster) February 7, 2016
Despite many Twitter users criticising the brand, ultimately the impact of Beyoncé’s lyrics can only be positive for Red lobster. However, for digital, social and comms teams all over the world it raises the question – are you prepared for a global superstar to mention your brand? It’s well-known that social media management is far from a 9 – 5 job and while unlikely that Beyoncé will start endorsing other brands left, right and centre, this presents a good opportunity for social teams to develop strategies for coping with this type of rarity.
When we create social media guidelines for brands, we stress the following:
Ensure you have a social media monitoring tool in place that will alert you – depending on the size of your brand and social following, set a notification to alert you if you receive a higher volume of tweets than normal
Respond in a timely fashion – if you need to call the CEO to get approval to tweet Beyoncé, call him. Make sure there is an escalation process in place to get sign off quickly.
Join the conversation
Understand your brand – Have clear guidelines for how you engage with people through social and don’t miss a chance to humanise the brand, if possible
Consider your response – try and continue the conversation in the tone of the endorsement. Red Lobsters cheesey response jarred with Beyoncé’s cheeky reference, though they have since got it together with their Valentine’s Day campaign