Amy’s Bakery Meltdown

In our modern world, the role of public relations has drastically changed, because crisis management has become much more complex and involves public opinion like never before.  A company, organization or individual in the public eye, must actually use social media to their advantage, especially when a crisis has occurred.

The social web has become an actual crisis trigger as we have learned, and it’s clear that social media can actually be the source of the scandal, not just as a method for the public to fuel the crisis.  It’s become an incredibly reputation damaging tool in a matter or years, and it’s unfortunate to say that a lot of the crisis situations that have occurred for large companies, have actually forced a lot of boardrooms and CEOs to take notice.  These crises have actually also allowed a lot of PR professionals to learn a lot from.

Out of the endless social media disasters that have happened recently, one that stood out to me was a smaller establishment called Amys’ Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro.  The Arizona bakery was visited by celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsey on the television show Kitchen Nightmares.  This situation was certainly an online social media crisis, but interestingly enough was started, caused and encouraged by the owners of the shop!

Gordon Ramsey had the Bakery on the show in an attempt to help the company, although it was the first time in the series that conflicts with the owners interfered with the ability to complete the show.  Social media criticized the women, which in turn caused them to behave in a manner Forbes called “a poster example of how a business should not react to comments from the social media.” 1

There are a lot of issues that Amy did not deal with correctly in general, let alone in front of the whole world on the internet.  Facebook, Yelp and Reddit became a wild fire of backlash and comments to the owners behaviour.  I think it’s difficult to analyze a situation like this because the personalities of the individuals involved made it so difficult, that a PR company representative actually walked out of the job after 5 days.  However, I think it’s important to consider what I would have done in the situation.

First, social media is meant to humanize your company and put a personal face to your brand.  Writing angry, heated, and argumentative responses on social media is not going to give your company a positive reputation. In reaction to the negative comments online from the events of the show, I would have posted first a thank you to Gordon Ramsay and his show for their time and efforts, possibly even apologizing that the dynamic did not work and wish everyone well.  One claim was that employees were mistreated, so a good idea would be to post a big team employee photo to the website. Also, include an individual employee testimonial online.

Second, it does not do any good to reply to individual messages, but better just to leave the negative comments to be.  I would have posted a video to the site, introducing the owners, the employees and showing the restaurant.  Also explaining that they learned a lot from their experience with Ramsay on television, thank him again, and how they look forward to serving all of their loyal and new customers soon.  They could have asked Gordon himself to post some positive feedback and reconciled differences on their own social media sites.

Third, a good idea would be to post positive and smiling pictures of current customers to your social media pages.  The social media backlash with the bakery got completely out of hand when the owners took to the web with outrageous and hateful comments.  Their outcome would have been very different if they had focused on the positive rather than the negative.

Here are a few quotes of Amy’s and her husband Samy that I found online:


1 – “Lessons From Amy’s Baking Company: Six Things You Should Never Do On Social Media”. Forbes. Retrieved May 16, 2013.


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The Value of Social Media Measurement Tools (and the time you can save)…


Currently, I am responsible for the social media platforms at my company and I’ve had to teach myself a lot about how to make the best out of our posts and how to determine who our clients are and what is the best way to reach them.

After spending some time researching social media management platforms, I have been satisfied working with Sprout Social.  This paid tool is generally a content management system, but actually has excellent analytics and reporting as well.  As an analytic tool, you can customize presentation ready reports.  Sprout Social includes a variety of measurement such as engagement (to view response rate and time); review which posts receive the most clicks (determining which of your message resonates best); and you can actually evaluate your audience against the competition.  The value is undeniable for my business.  It points out key indicators and actually provides social scores.  I’ve been able to determine the best time to post and compare and contrast which of my posts receive the most interaction.

Another measurement tool that I worked with for a while is Hoot Suite.  This platform is free, with the offer of special features at an additional cost.  One interesting feature about this tool which was actually a negative experience is that the photographs posted on twitter are not integrated permanently into your photo roll on your site.  Since I wanted individuals to be able to scroll through all our photo posts on twitter, this was not a good feature.  Hoot Suite is however one of the more popular tools and has a very easy to use management system.

I’ve now focused on the two tools that I’m familiar with, and with a little research I’ve noticed that a lot of the management platforms are no longer free.  Here are two more tools that are still available free of charge.

Tweet Beep is “google alerts for Twitter.”  The idea is to track any conversation on your products or your company that are occurring around the web.  This is a valuable tool if you want to stay involved with who is talking about you!

Another amazing and valuable free tool is Buffer.  As a general management tool, it works like all the rest by automatically publishing your scheduled content throughout the day.  An interesting feature about this program is that it sets up a Buffer app on your web browser, so you can easily and quickly add updates to your account.

There is an amazing amount of competition out there, but from personal experience at a corporate job, the values are incredible with using these tools.  Not only the importance of analytics, but the time saved is immeasurable!

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Social Media Measurement and the 3 A’s

ImageBlanchard explains how no social media program can be effective without a measurement plan in place.  He also states not to focus time or energy on popularity, because a ‘like’ on facebook won’t meet your business objectives at the end of the day.  He also mentions not to get stuck on fluctuations with your brand on a day to day basis.  So, which results tare important to analyze when measuring your social media plan?

Completing the measurement and the analytics is often the easy part, especially due to online platforms today that produce full reports automatically.  It’s determining how to read the results, and translate this information to make your efforts successful, that can get challenging and confusing.  The 3 A’s of social media measurement can help break down the analytics and try to understand how ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’ might actually mean a sale for your business.

Here are the 3 A’s of social media measurement:

Attention:  Is anyone interested?  Is the interest positive or negative?  This is the overall volume of interest.  Including new followers or retweets, etc.  This can determine your clientele and what they are looking for.  It certainly helps a business plan to know the target market.

Attitude:  Overall sentiment determined through the measurement and ROI efforts.  What is your overall relationship with those interacting with your site?  A public relations professional could find the attitude online might change or fluctuate, and the online attitude could provide the overall satisfaction of your customers.

Action:  The results associated with your social media efforts and online outreach.  The business objectives of a company and the ROI can certainly be measured through action.  This is probably the most important result to measure, since action ultimately can lead to sales and success.

Blanchard dedicates Chapter 16 to ‘Frequency, Reach, and Yield,’ and explains how F.R.Y. “was the missing link between marketing and sales, between strategy and execution, between business objectives and performance measurement.”  Essentially, F.R.Y ‘aims to raise the bar by focusing on specific types of consumers and specific purchasing triggers, rather than just awareness, desire, and preference.”

Attention, attitude, and action are solid ways to measure social web activity, and the results can be complimented by further depth and definition with other analytical results such as F.R.Y.


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Social Media Revolution!

This is the 4th version of the world’s most watched social media video series “Social Media Revolution”. Written by international keynote speaker and best selling author Erik Qualman.

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8 Compelling Reasons Why You Should Be Using Social Media

8 Compelling Reasons Why You Should Be Using Social Media

Click to read article posted to Social Media Today >>

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5 Ways to Improve your SEO

Here is a brief read on how to improve your Search Engine Optimization.. which is always an interesting topic!


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Content Strategy & Infographics

The main elements of a content strategy are basically using content to reach business goals and users expectations.   At the end of the day, there is so much information on the web, how do we organize and deliver useful and valuable content?  With an overwhelming amount of information in our every day life, visual aids use a different part of the brain, which I believe provides relief and actually makes it easier to retain the overload of information.

In the book ‘Content Strategy for the Web’, the authors Halvorson & Rach state that “a strategy is an idea that sets direction for the future.”  Also, that “content strategy connects real content to real people.”  With these ideas in mind, I show here how infographics can be used to display information and/or data that we have always used, but now communicated in a visual form.  We live in a visual world, therefore infographics are a useful way to communicate information and data.


This infographic portrays the ‘layered’ hamburger comparison as a reference and learning tool.  I love this and have seen this type of visual in my education before.  It is light-hearted and memorable, which almost makes learning a little less daunting.  As a standalone image, this actually does an excellent job of describing content strategy.


Here The Linked In infographic is breaking down strategy on how to use different groups and networks to make money for your business on Linked In. Even though the categories are listed in her report, she has created this infographic to compliment her findings.  I like how she has taken her survey results and presented them in an inforgraphic.  It’s an easy reference for her data within her report.  However, I do believe it would be easier if it was formated better.  At the moment the information is not presented in a proper reading format and jumps around a bit.


This final infographic is a visual pie chart to breakdown ten strategies that every dentist should be applying to their marketing strategies.  It’s well structured, numbered, includes a core strategy, along with individual visuals to accompany each point.  This would be the best example I have seen of an infographic so far.  It is a complete stand alone strategy that outlines all core information without the accompanying report.  Therefore it compliments the article it was associated with very well, but also speaks for itself.

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