Mother Nature, technology glitches and people are unpredictable. While we’re all about making your own good luck, sometimes you get stuck with a real lemon despite your best-laid plans. Here are a few best practices for when your marketing goes off script.
Prepare for What If
For company initiatives, it is important to have a plan that not only outlines what SHOULD happen, but also what COULD happen. By thinking through disaster scenarios in advance, you can better prepare (mentally, if nothing else) and put safeguards in place (alternate event locations, contact lists, crisis kits, standby staffing, back-up file storage … to name a few). You’ll also have a little extra headspace to brainstorm creative ways to salvage your strategy if things go south.
Always Do the Right Thing
Whether it is your bad luck or someone else’s that affects you, be sure to ask ‘is this the right thing to do’ before implementing plan B. It’s one thing to create a bright spot in a dire situation and an entirely different thing to capitalize on misfortune in a self-promotional or tone-deaf way. You should take a win-win or someone-else-wins approach.
Here’s a real-life example:
After working for months on a new line of family games, a major tropical storm hits the test market a few days before a series of sampling events. With the community under water and families housed in emergency shelters, the company created plan B while huddled in a hotel room – cancel events and provide (with permission) games to displaced families to help keep kids occupied during a stressful time.
Not sure if you are crossing the line? Seek feedback from outside your marketing or communications team. Spouses, neighbors, opinionated 14-year-old daughters and agency partners can be a gut check.
To counter bad luck in the moment, you must be nimble. Oreo cites that the success of its much-publicized blackout tweet was due to its decision makers being in the room together and ready to move. This goes back to point #1, advance preparation, as well as the ability to think in motion and have tolerance for risk.
Bad luck happens. By being prepared, thoughtful and nimble, you can mitigate the damage and perhaps make a little lemonade in the process.