Home improvement super-chain Lowe’s learned a tough lesson recently. Be ready when stepping into the social media universe, ’cause everyone is watching. And I mean everyone.
Recently, Lowe’s sponsorship through a television ad buy of The Learning Channel (TLC) reality show “All-American Muslim” created a communications firestorm made all the worse by the chain’s effort, via social media, to put out the fire. As the folks at Lowe’s tried to make sure they were offending no one, they succeeded in offending everyone. Or at least it seemed like everyone, especially as it played out on social media sites for all the world to see.
The following is the corporate reputation management two-step that made a problem much bigger:
Initially, Lowe’s received a flurry of complaints from a conservative group claiming that the TLC show was promoting an “Islamic agenda.” So, Lowe’s proceeded to apologize via Facebook and pulled the ads from the show.
So Lowe’s now is left to deal with two audiences that probably agree on nothing, except that they don’t like Lowe’s.
It will be interesting to see the next move in this very public chess match. Stay tuned.