How Kenneth Cole Lost Thousands of Customers in 1 Easy Step

Kenneth Cole, international shoe brand and fashion trend-setter, decided to comment on the horrific situation in Egypt this morning. In past blog posts, we’ve explored how your small business can leverage timely events to boost marketing efforts, but we didn’t mean like this:

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What do you think happened? Perhaps this might have been funny (to some?) behind closed doors, but for an established, trusted brand with decades of history and equity? Surprisingly, this tweet has not been removed (yet). Here are a just few of the responses – which already number in the thousands. You can also search “KennethCole” at search.twitter.com to look at what’s happening real-time – and their inevitable corporate response.
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Any company that embraces social media must realize that there is a fine line between funny and flippant – or in this case, between appropriate and offensive. While it’s unlikely that Kenneth Cole had any malicious intentions, it’s important to recognize that years of goodwill can be undone by a careless, momentary lapse in judgment.
Update: a spoof Twitter account has already been opened taking aim at the brand – @KennethColePR. A sample tweet: “Our new looks are dropping faster than the World Trade Center
Yikes!

What do you think – did the company go too far, or was it an innocent mistake?

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