AKA: I wwebsite as on the internet
If you haven’t been following the PR Nightmare / best internet debacle this year, check out these writeups of a phenomenal example of how not to do customer service / PR.
Long(ish) story short(er), a customer (Dave) emails a company about a question on his delayed pre-ordered (and paid for) gaming product. Paul, the Head of Marketing / PR responds in an incredible, negative, downward spiral of condescension and arrogance while referencing some other very large gaming companies (IGN, Kotaku, Penny Arcade). Eventually those companies step in to respond, both denying any relationship with Paul and stepping in to reply directly, only to have Paul make things worse. In the end, Paul has been let go and the company is scrambling to fix the damage.
The reason I bring this up is what Geico has done. In the span of less than 2 days, Geico has capitalized on a well-spotted meme-in-the-making with this tweet in response to a question:
@jd_2020 Great savings, outstanding service, and a proven 75-year track record. And we will never wwebsite as on the Internet.
— GEICO (@GEICO) December 27, 2011
Geico Turns One Man’s PR Trash Into Their Own PR Gold
And that, friends, is what we call seizing the moment. (Meme-ment?)
For those left wondering why Geico suddenly forgot how to type coherently, here’s the context. The TL;DR version: one brazen marketer got a bit too cocky in his (typo-riddled) responses to a customer, word spread, and the acrid wrath of the Internet rained down like hellfire. Geico jumped at the opportunity juxtapose their PR style with a little jab, and the Internet fired a mountain of love (in the form of retweets and Reddit posts) in their direction for it.
This is how Twitter should be done. For the companies out there somehow still trying to wrap their head around this whole Twitter thing: just do what Geico does. Have a real human responding (preferably someone who considers the Internet their second home), and give them the flexibility to respond like a real human would. Let them be funny. Let them make little inside jokes. The Internet hivemind will appreciate it.
– Randall Noval