Burger King’s Social Media Crisis & Failure to Effectively Communicate

By Gerard Braud

In 2013 there is no excuse for such failed crisis communications. Any and every company should be ready to make a public statement on any crisis in one hour or less. It is good public relations; it is good media relations; it is good crisis communication; it is good social media crisis communication.

So here it is on Monday afternoon, February 18, 2013 as I sit in my office near New Orleans and Burger King’s Twitter account was hacked nearly 4 hours ago. The hackers make it look like a McDonald’s account.

 

Burger King eventually managed to get Twitter to suspend the account and pull down the content and ugly comments.

 

But in the 140-character world of fast news, the fast food company is SLOW to officially issue a statement.

 

 

 

Here Burger King, I’ll help you out. Go to my website and download a sample of what a First Critical Statement should look like:

 

Type in the coupon code: CRISISCOMPLAN

That way you can have it for free. And anyone else reading this blog can have it for free as well.

 

 

Every company should have a template like this for fast release to the media, your customers and to your website. In the crisis communications plans I write, this template would then have 100 more companion templates with more pre-written details about every type of crisis imaginable.

The time to prepare these responses is on a clear sunny day before you need them. The worst time to write a response to a crisis is during the crisis.

Burger King’s Facebook page is full of comments by followers, but Burger King hasn’t even bothered to post anything on their Facebook page to acknowledge this unfolding social media and public relations crisis. This is simply failed public relations and failed crisis communications.

 

Burger King’s official web page has a page for news releases, but as I write this nearly 4 hours after the crisis began, there is no official statement about the hacking from Burger King.

 

There is a page with names of media contacts. You would think one of these people would be issuing a statement, but no, that isn’t happening.

 

 

I decided to send them e-mail, but no one has replied.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did find a news story on the Associated Press website that said, “Burger King plans to issue an apology later today.” Really? Later? How about right now? How about an hour or less after the event happened.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And just before hitting “publish” on this blog, I’ve tripped across a Chicago Tribune story with an apology message from Burger King.

Here is the statement it took Burger King 4 plus hours to write:

“We apologize to our fans and followers who have been receiving erroneous tweets about other members of our industry and additional inappropriate topics,” Burger King said in a statement to the Tribune this afternoon.

Long story short: Burger King PR Team – you guys are failures.

The next question is will the PR people who read this immediately gather their team together and update their crisis communications plan and prepare for a hack of their own social media accounts, or will they simply go about their daily PR task and hope it never happens to them?