by: David Polinchock
So Lane Hartwell just posted this on Twitter (sorry if it offends anyone!)
Um.ok.wtf. @ gap in SF. Just found a dried, bloody tampon in the pocket of some pants i was trying. Barf.
And that lead Sarah Lacy to reply:
@lanehartwell: wow. wow. wow. wow. wow. never going to the gap again.
Which is the post that I read and I just had to go find out what it was all about. I figured it had to be something pretty strong for Sarah to say she would never go back to the Gap again and, well, it was pretty strong!
And while I think advertisers will certainly screw up social media (see Experience Manifesto: Why Advertising Will Destroy Social Media for my take on that issue), I think that brands do need to take very seriously what happens when someone has an experience like this and then starts broadcasting it to the world. And in this case, it looks like Lane actually sent this out from her cell phone, so it was really an on-the-spot message.
And that's the good & bad of what's possible today. It's the immediacy of the communication. So, when I'm having a very positive experience somewhere, whether it's with a brand or not, I can tell everyone right away. It's exciting and real time. But, when I have a bad experience, it's all raw & emotional. I'm not filtering it through my thought process like I do when I'm writing an article. I just say it, like Lane did.
Now, crappy stuff like this happens to companies all the time. I was a park employee at Disney World and I can share horror stories with you! And, the brand is not always directly to blame. I mean, clearly, someone else created the situation that Lane encountered at the Gap. It wasn't a corporate-made nightmare. But, the question is, how quickly is Gap prepared to respond to this story before it really gains traction. Will they reach out to Lane and somehow make her feel better? Are they monitoring the twitter/blog conversations so that they will even know this happened? Mistakes will always happen. Today, how you respond to them is the important issue.
So, I'll let you know if I hear any more about this story.