If getting the most out of social media was a tug-of-war, with entertainment mogul, fashion designer and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs on one end of the rope and mud pile and Skittles on the other, the rainbow colored candy would quickly find itself thrust into a mosh pit of poor marketing strategy and forced to bathe in mud fondue.
First Thing’s First…The Good
The most important brand is yourself. No one understands that fundamental concept more than Diddy. After all…Diddy is many things to many people. He changes career hats more often than Buckingham Palace changes guards. To keep the bellies of his fans and critics full of everything Diddy and to take back control of his brand from traditional media and paparazzi, he took a page out of President Obama’s campaign playbook and turned to social media.
Diddy uses Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, DiddyTV, PTwittyTV and his personal social networking site D Community to have one-on-one conversations with fans and critics in order to properly position his brand in their minds. He uses Twitter as a marketing tool to pitch his latest projects, products, clothing line, restaurant, TV show or music venture. Vlogs are his platform for addressing rumors, promoting his latest venture, addressing social concerns or backing his political candidate and urging his millions of fans to do the same. Both serve as inexpensive promotional tools and as a bullhorn for setting the record straight when the media has it all wrong.
And Then There Is…The Bad & The Ugly
While Diddy uses social media to take the power back, Skittles is using it to give all of its power away. The move did create buzz, but how long will a thoughtless PR tactic keep the attention of a fickle community? Marketers at Mars, Inc missed an opportunity to create dialogue with fans and settled for a stream of posts about anything, good or bad, that mentions its brand name. One post reads “I flushed a bag of Skittles down the toilet… it was like an entire Nascar race in 11 seconds” Another post incorrectly reads “NEWS ALERT: Mass Skittles recall – China blamed in latest melamine/Ebola/salmonella scandal…” and finally “Good mourning mie [sic] home skittles.” Attention skittles execs…”home skittles” is not a reference to your brand. It is merely a slang term used to describe a friend that’s sort of like a sister or brother to you. Skittles could have learned that from Diddy.
2. When you used description tags for the Skittles site (see image below), were you trying to make it appear as if consumers, via social media spaces, created the search results description?
3. When you added temporary Wikipedia “page protection” for your brand profiles, were you trying to avoid authenticity and transparency?
Home Skittles We Have Major Problems.
Where is the PR executive who came up with this bright idea? Skittles should go back to the drawing board and rethink this disaster. PR & Marketing 101: Willingly handing over the keys to your empire and deceiving consumers is brand suicide. Another lesson Skittles could have learned from Diddy.