The web, particularly social media, has brought with it an abundance of opportunities to communicate and connect. Everyone has an equal opportunity to have their moment. The desire to deliver an impactful message and reach a significant number of people — or to go “viral” as some say — has clouded many decisions.
We are at a point when being first or most-prominent has overpowered the need to be smart. The examples continue to pile up. Historic examples include a car company using attempted suicide to highlight a model of car with clean emissions and a clothing store shamelessly offering a Hurricane Sandy discount “in case you’re bored.”
CrossFit recently joined the fray. They issued a tweet making light of diabetes, including those with type type 1 diabetes (Juvenile Diabetes) which is not directly linked to sugar consumption.
It was a thoughtless campaign in two ways. First, it was offensive. Second, CrossFit clearly didn’t conduct any due diligence on this campaign. I imagine the desire to put the post up was overwhelming and trumped any need for a quick Threat and Risk Assessment (TRA).
The campaign may have been well-suited to the legions of committed CrossFitters (though I’m sure some were horrified by the campaign). However, the company was clearly focused on its intended audience of insiders, failing to recognize the potential actual audience.
And CrossFit’s response to the blowback was equally insensitive.
Rather than take the opportunity to issue a crisp apology for their campaign, they chose instead to blame and deflect.
My purpose of this post isn’t so much to focus on CrossFit’s response as it is to highlight its lack of foresight. Planning and executing a campaign (be it education or action) in the digital age requires an intelligent TRA with a group of people with a variety of ideas and backgrounds.
Taking a little extra time to think, consider and prepare can be the difference between a bold rallying cry to your followers and an offensive act which lands you in the news. Done well, you may even pick up a new group of committed followers and supporters.