As I sit here this morning and process through the online maelstrom surrounding Jared Fogle, the grassroots social media/brand spokesperson from Subway, I see vicious comments and quips being posted at a dizzying rate…even from people that I thought wouldn’t be so quick to pick up a pitchfork and torch.
There is something I want to say before moving forward with this post…RE: #JaredFogle “He has not been detained, arrested or charged w/any crime or offense.” http://www.cbsnews.com/news/federal-indiana-authorities-raid-home-of-subways-jared-fogle-in-child-pornography-case/ Please remember that before you hit share or publish or come across inflammatory or misleading headlines in regards to Jared, or any one who is caught up in the meat grinder of global #onlineshaming. Please put yourself in their shoes and #clickwithcompassion
Considering that we will still be reading and seeing posts regarding Subway social spokesman Jared Fogle for the foreseeable future, I wanted to talk about the fallout. Fallout, for everyone involved and not just for the PR/Social Media folks at Subway.
But first, let’s be clear about what I mean. . . Social Media Spokesperson ≠ Social Media Community Manager. A Social Media Spokesperson, to me, is a public figure that is the spokesperson of a brand and is using their own social media channels to help promote said brand in addition to doing live appearances.
— danielle hatfield (@dhatfield) July 8, 2015
Own a franchise? Let’s hope that Subway HQ shares information with franchisees who may desperately need help with crisis communication, especially in the quickdraw world of social media.
Have a solo social media spokesperson like Jared Fogle? I have a few questions I want you to quietly answer to yourself;
1. Do you have a SHTF (shit hits the fan) plan whether the trouble lies with your brand reputation or theirs?
2. Has this news story changed your mind on only having one social media spokesperson to represent your brand?
3. How would you and your team handle this crisis if it were your social media spokesperson in the headlines along with your brand name?
4. Have you considered what you will do if the brand you bought a franchise of turns belly up due to some unforeseen event?
Are you a social media spokesperson for a brand? I have a few questions that I hope helps you learn from this event, and yes, I do want you to quietly answer to yourself;
1. Who is in your inner circle of trusted friends/family/advisors/business parters? Though we can’t know everything about everyone – it’s good to take stock of those around us periodically and make adjustments.
2. How would you and your family handle this crisis if it were you in the headlines along with the brand you represent?
3. Have you created a crisis communication plan for you?
Are you a Non Profit associated with a public figure? These questions are meant to make you think, discuss then prepare. Please consider discussing these with your BOD;
1. Have you created a crisis communication plan for your nonprofit and the social media spokesperson?
2. How would you and your team handle this (or any) crisis if it were your Non-Profit in the headlines along with your solo social media spokesperson?
3. What is the screening process for public figures who want to partner with/represent your non profit?
Are you a regular? These questions are meant to help you slow down and consider how fast information can spread, the importance of doing research before jumping to judgement and of course make you think about your role as a consumer in the midst of this very public story.
1. Will this story have an impact on whether or not you spend your money with Subway (or any brand caught up in scandal)?
2. Have you commented on or shared this story publicly? If so why?
3. Did you read more than one article to get as much information as possible before hitting send/share?
4. Will you withhold your support for Subway regardless of the outcome of the investigation?
I said it years ago in Social Media and Subway: The Tomato Nightclub Effect that it’s no secret that people take to social sites to share the good and the bad. Remember that often your biggest asset is user generated content and celebrating in building a strong community of brand advocates who will help your brand weather any storm.
Let’s hope that this is a lesson to all business owners to dust off their communication crisis plan and consider if they want to put all of their eggs in one solo social media spokesperson basket.
My question is this: How will this event impact the future of the solo social media spokesperson? Will big brands opt for a group spokesperson effort?
Does this event mean the certain death of the solo social media spokesperson? Will Big Brands be too scared to take a chance on one face to represent them to the masses?
Leave your thoughts and comments below. I’d love to hear them.