Kenneth Cole’s real mistake: Tactics without a strategy
Ian Lurie Feb 4 2011
Unless you live under a rock, or have a life outside the internet, you’ve heard about Kenneth Cole’s now-infamous Tweet-fuffle:
Tasteless? Yes. And ill-advised.
Tactically it looks brilliant: Surf on a trending hashtag (#Cairo). By tweeting and including that hashtag in his post, Kenneth Cole ensured his tweet would be seen by the millions of people following the crisis in Egypt.
But, that which is tactically clever can also be strategically dumb. Sort of like starting a land war in Russia: You get the jump on everyone, forge your way in, and then get crushed by the combination of winter and people who don’t like being invaded.
But I digress.
Cole’s error here was not considering the longer-term impact. He grabbed for a bit of quick traffic with what seemed at the time like a light-hearted reference to current events. He forgot that events have participants (in this case, anyone on Twitter), and participants have memories, and unfavorable memories mean unfavorable press.
My advice? Always make sure your marketing tactics fit with your strategy. If they don’t, then no matter how good the short-term potential, re-think your Twitter/article/publicity stunt/PR.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More