Skittles + Donald Trump = An Important Marketing Lesson

In a world full of trending topics, disastrous social media campaigns and media frenzy, it's hard for businesses to navigate the world of social media AND stay true to your brand values.

Now, most of us will never be put in a poosition where a political leader will use our products or services to help their campaign. But you will face issues that need to be dealt with - no matter your size.

A recap of what happened in case you were MIA yesterday.

Donald Trump compared poisoned Skittles to the Syrian Refugee "problem" 

 
 

In response, the company promptly released this statement, "Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don't feel it's an appropriate analogy," and followed it up with "We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing."

Now let me explain why there were so clever here.

Firstly, they have immediately disagreed with the statement, made their voice clear, and distanced themselves from the remark, but more importantly, they set their boundaries and refused to continue the discussion.

When something happens on social miedia, that you have no control over, you have very limited options. You can ride the wave and live by the "there is no such thing as bad publicity" mantra, OR you can fight it. Most brands would have tried to control the situation, replying, and posting updates and this is where Skittles were really clever - and I totally commend them on their response.

They simply stated the facts, made their point on the situation known, and walked away. 

A very grown up response if you asked me, when a lot of social media commentary feels adolescent and needy - they responded with maturity.

So, what does this mean for you and your business, and is there really no such thing as bad publicity?

Now I know people will adamantly disagree with me, but I believe there is such a thing as bad publicity, and if Skittles had handled this in any other way it would have turned nasty.

The important thing to remember with social media, and this lesson, is that it's okay to make a stand for something, it's okay to disagree, and it's also okay to make your point known, and back away.

Herd mentality is incredibly powerful, and sometimes you simply cannot respond to every tweet, message, article, snapchat and post. It's impossible. 

Know who you are as a brand, know what you will stand for, and know your boundaries. Clearly establish upfront what you're okay with and what you're not - a good life lesson in fact.