Run your content past your barista before going public - SmartCompany article

Summary
SmartCompany article by Dominic Powell:
"Chief executive of Good Things Marketing Helen Ahrens advises SME owners to go one step further and get any major public campaign checked over with someone outside of your marketing team and target audience. “It could be your accountant, a friend from another business, your barista, or your Pilates buddy,” she says. “If there’s anything that doesn’t fit or looks odd, then in your trusted relationship they should be able to raise that flag and tell you.” Although Ahrens says vigilance and strong procedures can help businesses avoid the missteps altogether, if a mistake happens, it’s best to take in on board and fix it quickly. “If you break it, you’ve got to own up and fix it,” she says.

 

JB Hi-Fi “race wars” bundle blunder leaves customers scratching their heads

Customers have taken to social media in confusion after electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi  advertised a collection of video games as a “race wars bundle” last week.

Kotaku reports the company’s latest catalogue featured the mishap in its advertisement of a bundle of two Xbox games and an Xbox console. The deal was a package of strategy game Halo Wars 2 and racing game Forza Horizon 3, leading to the unfortunate description of the bundle as a “race wars” deal.

The online version of the catalogue has been since amended, with the deal’s name changed simply to the “Halo Horizon” bundle. However, the preview excerpt of the catalogue on the company’s website still contains the controversial title, and the print edition of the catalogue reportedly still contains the error.

A number of punters took to social media to question the headline, with one customer tweeting “someone at Jb Hifi [sic] thought ‘Race Wars’ was a good name for a sale, and not a single person thought ‘wait, hold up a minute’?”.

However, staff reportedly did raise questions about the bundle’s title in the catalogue, prompting an internal memo from the company acknowledging the issue and advising staff to steer away from the “political angle”.

“We have been advised that some store staff who have seen the catalogue have interpreted the title in a more political context,” the internal memo reads reports Kotaku.

“Please note that it is intended purely as a reference from the Fast and the Furious franchise … please share with your teams to ensure they have the background if consumers come at this from a political angle.”

Run your content past your barista before going public

Marketing Angels founder Michelle Gamble suggests the “fast-moving” nature of JB Hi-Fi’s retailing and marketing means the title was likely an unfortunate oversight from someone on the marketing team who hasn’t thought it through clearly.

However, she advises SMEs to have stringent approval processes in place when to comes to marketing content, as letting something like this through the cracks can bring unwanted attention to your business.

“Having a good approval process, especially for larger companies, is essential. For smaller businesses, it’s different as the teams are often smaller, but you can still run it by your family or friends,” Gamble told SmartCompany.

Chief executive of Good Things Marketing Helen Ahrens agrees. She advises SME owners to go one step further and get any major public campaign checked over with someone outside of your marketing team and target audience.

“It could be your accountant, a friend from another business, your barista, or your Pilates buddy,” she says.

“If there’s anything that doesn’t fit or looks odd, then in your trusted relationship they should be able to raise that flag and tell you.”

If issues are then flagged with the content, it’s important to listen and act, advises Gamble.

“If people are flagging issues with your marketing, make sure you address their concerns and don’t ignore it. Even if their opinion is different, everyone’s perception varies and offense could be caused,” she says.

Although Ahrens says vigilance and strong procedures can help businesses avoid the missteps altogether, if a mistake happens, it’s best to take in on board and fix it quickly.

“If you break it, you’ve got to own up and fix it,” she says.

SmartCompany contacted JB Hi-Fi but the company declined to comment.