Talking Red Hens
When your brand is wrongly associated with a crisis
On our latest episode of PR & Politics, we talked about the incident at the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, where the owner of the restaurant asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and her party to leave. As expected, social media wasted no time erupting with thoughts and opinions on the controversy. Those who were upset and offended by the owner asking someone to leave her restaurant because she works for President Trump, lashed out at Red Hen, jumping on Yelp and other online review sites to go after the establishment.
The restaurant at the center of all this isn’t the only place with the name Red Hen. There’s a popular Red Hen in Washington, D.C., and another one in New Jersey. The owners are different, and they aren’t connected in any way. But that hasn’t stopped the other Red Hens from being mistaken for the one in Lexington. The other establishments had nothing to do with the incident, yet they’ve found themselves on the receiving end of anger, discontent and heated comments.
What should they do? How do you respond in a situation of mistaken identity that could potentially hurt your brand? Here are several tips we discussed on the podcast:
While it’s easy to get frustrated and maybe tempting to respond in kind to angry people lashing out at you online, it’s best stay above the fray. Your restaurant was never part of this incident. No need to jump into the mess by getting upset.
Correct the Record
Make sure people know they have the wrong company. Point out that aside from having the same name, your restaurant has a different owner and isn’t connected in any way to the one that asked Sarah Sanders to leave. You could even go a step further by letting people know you would ever ask someone to leave because you disagree with their political views.
With social media moving so fast, you will likely have to say it over and over. “This was not us. We are a different restaurant than the one in Lexington.” Message clarity and repetition are important in situations like these.
Take Advantage of the Opportunity
Joe mentioned on the podcast that the unwelcome attention could be turned into an opportunity for your restaurant. With the name Red Hen being the subject of national news and trending on social media, it’s a chance for you say, “Let us tell you about our brand.”