Tone-Deaf Marketing Hurts Public Relations

Every holiday season, marketers try to turn that passion into profit. But there’s danger in delivering warm and fuzzy marketing when your audience’s recent experience with your company is less than pleasant. Unfortunately, a perfect case study is currently baking. For years, families and friends have gleefully gifted Cheryl’s Cookies during the holidays. But for many, this Christmas may be cookie-less. An apparent production issue has left customers waiting weeks and weeks for their baked goods. And Cheryl’s has totally dropped the ball on managing its public relations and customer service basics.

No Broad, Proactive Apology


At the time of this post, the company hasn’t addressed the delays on its website or prominently on social media. Publishing an explanation and apology as a post — not as a threaded comment — is a no-brainer. Sending an authentic apology email to all customers who recently placed an online order is another must-do.

Tone-Deaf Marketing


The company continued to send sales-focused emails and promote holiday products on social — without mentioning that gifts may not arrive before Christmas. This added fuel to the fire and only increased customer frustration. All marketing messages should warn of a delay until shipments are back on track.

Poor Customer Service

Cheryl’s social posts have become a platform for customers to roast the company for its lackluster customer service. They have drawn attention to long phone wait times, no callbacks, being hung up on and the company’s decision to disable its online chat function and Facebook reviews. In situations like these, sympathetic customer service representatives — and sufficient staffing — are an absolute must.Cheryl’s has squandered an opportunity to create a dialog with customers — and preserve its reputation. Sadly, maintaining a cadence of tone-deaf marketing has damaged their public relations and image with longstanding customers.

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