A case where an entity is subject to unwanted and undeserved controversy due to an identity mismatch is not something that has come to the fore for the first time. The recent Surf Excel- MS Excel controversy is a perfect example of such happenings wherein they released an advertisement in the background of the festival of Holi to celebrate and promote peaceful communal relations but it got picked up in the wrong way and backfired massively. This incident is reminiscent of the Snapchat-Snapdeal fiasco. In that scenario, the homegrown e-commerce startup Snapdeal faced the ire of the general public due to Snapchat making a controversial statement about our country.

Although incidents like these may seem hilarious from the outside, they have an adverse impact on the morale of the firm which is wronged. These firms may lose market share, clients, revenue and even investors through absolutely no fault of their own. Below is an image depicting the backlash they faced on Twitter..

The question that arises is, what can firms do in response to such incidents?

Even though the firm may not be at fault, there is very little they can do to avert such incidents. In such situations, firms generally have two options as their immediate response to the crisis. The first is to let the storm pass and wait for people to come to their senses and realize the mistake OR take the initiative upon themselves to do some damage control.

If the firms choose to go with the second choice, it becomes important to factor in variables like, what is said, how is it said, who says it, what do they want to communicate through this message and most importantly when is it said. These five variables are critical if a firm wants to present a gentle but strong stand as their initial reaction to the situation.

It is important for the firm to monitor their approach as they go forth and give their statement. It is important that the firm remains dignified in their response because it shows integrity and character which can help the firm to win the support of the public.

There is, however, something that the firms can do after the wind blows off on the controversy. They could use all the considerable communication portals at their disposal like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their own website to reach out to their audiences and properly present their stand on the issue.

It is important for the firm to monitor their approach as they go forth and give their statement. It is important that the firm remains dignified in their response because it shows integrity and character which can help the firm to win the support of the public.

Another approach could be to treat the entire situation with humour and drive a communication campaign which shows that the firm that has been affected sees the funny side of the situation. Doing this may reflect the strength of the firm and their ability to take-it-on-the-chin.

The way in which any firm responds to a controversy like this is critical because a badly planned reaction may make a bad situation even worse.

However, that does not undo the damage that’s been done and it is imperative for the firms that became targets to not let incidents like these dent their spirit and continue to focus on their work.

You can check out the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zq7mN8oi8ds

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