The life of a big company is extremely fast-paced. Many assignments are being thrown around daily and when you throw social media into the mix, there is even more on people’s plates. For a big company social media is an entire job with every channel needing multiple posts a day to keep up with their following. Most companies like this have an editing chain even for their social media posts to make sure that no mistake slips through the cracks before being posted to a mass audience. But sometimes even through this editing chain mistakes are not caught which is exactly what happened to Burberry.
Early this year the Burberry Twitter account tweeted a picture that they thought was of actor Dev Patel wearing one of their suits on the red carpet of the Bafta awards. The tweet read “celebrating the ‘EEBAFTAs in London this evening, Best Actor in A Supporting Role winner #DevPatel wears a @Burberry custom-made navy tuxedo.” The problem with this tweet was the person actually wearing their suit was not Dev Patel but was actually rapper Riz Ahmed. Both men were in fact wearing the British brand at this event but Burberry accidentally added the wrong photo to the tweet sent out to their 7.6 million followers.
While Burberry was quick to delete the tweet and replace it with the proper picture it did not stop people from noticing the mistake and saying that the brand should be ashamed. It even let one Twitter user to accuse Burberry of thinking all brown people look the same because both men have sub-continental origins. Burberry has since apologized for the mistake and has said that they are checking their process to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. In spite of this apology it has still left many of their fans feeling extremely disappointed in the brand for this mistake.
From a crisis communications stand point Burberry did everything they could to properly correct the problem once it had already occurred. Of course, this situation should have never happened and was just one big mistake on Burberry’s part. I would assume that when they said they were checking their process, they meant the chain of editing that the tweet would have gone through before it was posted. Of course a company never wants anything like this to happen because it could have caused an even bigger scandal than it already did cause. There could have been an even bigger backlash from people calling the company racist like the one user that I talked about above did. Luckily Burberry handled it well enough after the incident occurred that the situation resolved itself and did not continue to gain traction and get worse.