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March 2, 2013


Before the indecent tweet incident I think that Kenneth Cole should have had a lighthearted brand personality where jokes and political commentary were okay if done correctly. Up until then they had quite a bit of leeway with their brand personality. After the incident, however, their tweets must be a lot more dry and succinct, at least until people aren’t scrutinizing them waiting for another mistake.
Rebuilding the reputation of Kenneth Cole seems like a daunting task after the chaos caused by his #Cairo tweet. Originally I couldn’t have imagined such backlash from a tweet that appeared so harmless. The tweet didn’t seem overly obscene to me, but reading many responses to it I began to realize that it had been in poor taste. To rebuild their reputation they must make sure that every tweet is well thought out and cannot be offensive to anyone. To me, it originally seemed that the best way to achieve this was to have a dry twitter account, containing only information about the company and nothing more. After looking at the Zappos twitter I have changed my views.
Zappos has a well layed out twitter account, one that is interactive with its followers and promotes it’s company. Each tweet is sunny and positive and they answer each followers questions in a manner that is personal yet direct enough to not be misinterpreted or found offensive. To continue working in social media I think that Kenneth Cole should follow Zappos’ lead almost to a T. They should interact with their customers only by responding to what was asked of them. They should always remain positive, happy, and passionate about their products. They should allow their customers to do the advertising for them by showing other future customers the products that they love and why they love them.
The apology is where I am at a loss for words. Clearly, Kenneth Cole’s apology didn’t do the trick as many people seemed angrier after it was administered. People were so upset by the tweet that an apology needed to be strong and sound sincere. From my time in this class alone it has become clear to me that companies make social media mistakes often, and apologies must then be administered. Giving an apology in 140 characters can be difficult, but I don’t think that the Kenneth Cole apology was as strong as it could have been. It is fine that he sent a link to a longer apology on his facebook page, but to summarize what one of the advice bloggers wrote earlier, don’t make people leave the social media they are comfortable on. I would have tried to use the allotted 140 characters in a powerful way so that people didn’t have to transfer to facebook to read it. I’m not sure how possible this is, but I would have spent a good amount of time making it as sincere and powerful as I could before posting it.

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  1. Nika - Social Media Class permalink

    I kind of agree, Im not sure how I feel about the apology. Seems like it could have been better.

  2. Great post, I too had difficulty thinking about how Kenneth Cole could have bounced back from that and administered a better apology. It was poor, but I am not quite sure what I would have done differently. I would like to think that I would not have made the blunder in the first place, especially if I was the head of a huge company, but coming back after something like that is very difficult. I agree with your description of the Zappos employees, they do have a good “feeling” to their website, as they are all happy and upbeat and personable.

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