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The storm in a tea cup – a professional’s take

The storm in a tea cup….

Digital marketer’s views on our non-faux pas on Twitter

My profession is rooted in the digital marketing sector. So this “storm in a tea cup”, whilst near literally espousing the idiom, was a whole heap of silliness.

The abuse that Mr. Adam Crofton received was reprehensible. No form of hateful or abusive language should be condoned. Nonetheless, Arsenal should be absolved from any legal/moral responsibility here.

This echoes what many of us as fans have cited.

But as a professional in the industry, I have these extra points to offer:

  • Purpose

The purpose of any marketing is to ensure mutually beneficial relationships between the seller and the buyer. The most obvious of these is buying/selling a product. But there is more to it than that. Take a Burger King advert. If they are releasing a new burger to mark the launch of a film, or for summer or a public holiday, then the advert is an attempt to notify and inform customers. This is seeking to build a relationship, as in buying their new burger. A good campaign will use any tool at its disposal to maximize reach and make a relationship more profitable.

Digital marketing takes this basic marketing concept to the next level. It’s about engagement and having real-time communication with customers. In Arsenal’s case, it’s real time messages and content of our players, Mr. Wenger, or even board members, ex-players, and staff.  So tweets, instagrams, Facebook posts, or Youtube videos, bring the club to the masses in a more direct form than ever possible before.

So the Ozil cup tweet, in response to Mr. Crofton, was just that. It was a message designed, in a playful and cheeky way, to rub his view in his face.

And naturally, our Twitter base would naturally respond.

Just another way to engage your audience

  • Policy

It’s standard to have a social media policy in most organisations, or at least some kind of content plan. This can include what to do once negative messages are sent or received, and curbs on any defamatory, offensive, or degrading material.

Now, posting Ozil drinking from a tea-cup is not (in my mind at least) defamatory, offensive, nor degrading. And provided messages on all platforms are sent in good faith, and in good spirit, then the club should have nothing to fear.

Policies are as much to control personnel, as much as they are to limit outsiders from sending negative material.  Mistakes can happen, of course, since people are not perfect. Nonetheless, I’m sure that the club (I assume) accounted for the message prior to sending. And the tweet was sent in good faith and good humour.

Comments have also been made that a social media pro would be fired for this. Well, it depends. Was this done under supervision? If so, then surely the blame cannot be solely on a social media operator, but with the manager and/or supervisor who authorised it. Moreover, there are procedures and applications that can allow tweets and other messages to be authorised by higher-ups, as it were. Safeguards exist against random messages being sent, which is always wise.

A good social media policy should account for these potential mishaps, since they can be costly in various ways. I assume that a club with our global branding and status, and with a fanbase comprising all major groups (racial, ethnic, gender, religious, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, etc.) that we need to be on our game in our content development.

Arsenal are more than likely to have a safety net

  • Responsibility

So is our club responsible, either morally or even legally? It depends. There was the example of the United Airlines Asian-American man incident, as well as the Dove “black girl to white girl” ad of late.

These were obviously egregious. But our Ozil tweet wasn’t.

If anything, the attention may actually deter any hit from it. We know in good faith that our response to Mr. Crofton was not offensive, nor homophobic and threatening of his life as subsequent tweets. This may even garner sympathy towards us, given that we meant no genuine nor deep offence.

I’m not a cyber lawyer, but I doubt this would go very far in a criminal or even civil court under current UK cyber laws. There are laws against threatening online conduct. But is this threatening? Hardly, in both my biased view as a Gooner, and more objective view as a marketing pro in the widest context.

So, I don’t think we necessarily have anything to fear here.

The journo holds a right to feel aggrieved, though Arsenal cannot be blamed for this or any hurt caused.

It’s often said that in online communications, discretion and good judgment should be used. Whilst abuse cannot be permitted nor championed, how one tailors messages is paramount. This is a lesson in many ways for Mr. Crofton, Arsenal, and even other clubs and journalists.

Is this another stick to beat us with? Possibly. I guess we upset the apple cart, since that lot were supposed to “smash us” on Saturday. We all know the opposite happened, which is still gleeful…..

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