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Stick to Your Brand Even When the Sky is Falling

Written by in Strategy
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Communication is vital during technology troubles

  It’s the nightmare of every brand in the digital age: a huge event is planned, tension is high and suddenly the website cripples as traffic reaches an all time high. In the case of Lilly Pulitzer, it was their End of the Season sale that brought in enough fashionista users to bring down lillypulitzer.com. We’ve seen this happen before, however credit is due to the internet marketing/digital strategy team at Lilly for their impeccable use of social media to handle questions, provide updates and ease concern, while staying so accurately on brand and serving as a pie in the sky model for all social media managers to idolize.

  Round of applause, please.

  So, what exactly did Lilly’s marketing team do?

1. Acknowledge their error and direct users to a single communication source.

  Throughout the crisis, LillyPulitzer.com looked like this:

  Have you ever seen a more elegant error message? It could not be more perfectly on brand: the color, the tone, everything. It’s quick, it gets the point across and it tells the user exactly where to get their information: Facebook.

  Which leads us to….

2. Communicate at every step of the way

  Lilly’s social media team will need a very long day off after their non-stop efforts throughout the process. Facebook posts went out at every step indicating the status of the sale, assuring users that the sale is down for everyone and providing the time of the next update. Some fans even started attacking the complaints and defending the Lilly brand in the comments (double win!).

  While Facebook was occupied with providing extensive and timely updates, the Twitter feed was utilized to address individual questions and concerns.

3. Stick to your brand strategy

  Lilly Pulitzer’s team exhibited an extremely active approach in communicating and supporting their users and providing necessary information. Each reply was spectacularly detailed and on-brand, quite an achievement during a crisis. The tone of the tweets was sympathetic, informative and fun – encouraging Lilly fans to grab their gear as soon as the site was back.

  The key takeaway here is that while a full-blown hurricane may be occurring in your office, your fans should be an equal priority in the fire drill process. Take a note from Lilly’s (beautifully floral) book and take to social media to keep users calm, informed and pleased to avoid negative sentiment during sticky situations.

  So if you are mid-campaign or promotion and things go wrong, a few things we can all learn from Lilly Pulitzer:

  1.  
  2. Stay Calm and remain on brand: Maintaining a consistent communication strategy is important in high and low times
  3.  
  4. Be honest and acknowledge your mistakes: Consumers hate snake-oil and spin tactics. Own your mistakes and your customers will respect and support you more for it. Directly engaging your user/fan-base will bring out your brand advocates from the shadows defending you and supporting you.
  5.  
  6. Keep it real: It’s much easier to forgive a person than a brand, so add that human element to your correspondence.
  7.  
  8. Honor your mistakes: Going the extra mile for your customer might cost you a little more, but the karma points are like liquid gold in the social media era. In this case, Lilly extended the sale to accommodate customers who missed out during the outage.

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