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A few days ago, according to media reports, The Estée Lauder Companies announced that its executive John Demsey has decided to retire, after a week ago, John posted on his personal Instagram account that contained racial discrimination and false information related to the new crown pneumonia crisis. information, which resulted in strong opposition and suspension. The 31-year veteran of the Estée Lauder Group, served as the group’s executive president before leaving, and was mainly responsible for brands such as MAC and Clinique.
He inadvertently posted on his Instagram account last Monday a meme depicting a parody book cover from the children’s TV show “Sesame Street” that included a nigger’s N. words, some of the letters in this post have now been replaced with asterisks, and the content no longer appears in his account. But one stone has stirred up a thousand waves. Today, when major companies in the United States are vying to hold employee diversity and inclusion activities both internally and externally, this blatant racial discrimination, coupled with his previous social interactions such as joking about the new crown crisis, etc. The media content caused Estee Lauder’s executives to tear up and shy away from his personal remarks, and reiterated the company’s emphasis on the diversity of employees’ cultural backgrounds and its advocacy of inclusiveness.
This is not the first company executive to overturn a car on social media. A Dolce & Gabbana ad that spoofed chopsticks led to the suspension of a Chinese show, and Weibo was boycotted by consumers. Later, Daryl, the manager of the NBA’s Houston Rockets Morey’s support and comments on Hong Kong on Twitter caused the NBA to be stopped by CCTV. To make matters worse for D&G, co-founder Stefano Gabbana made the situation worse for the brand by using a series of derogatory remarks about China and the Chinese in response to the controversy over a previously aired ad with chopsticks eating pizza. And the NBA has tried every means to save his respect after that, which is quite similar to today’s situation where John immediately apologized for his previous Ins remarks.
What puzzles the industry is that during his tenure at Estée Lauder, John used women from all backgrounds as MAC ambassadors or partners, especially in bringing in black music stars, including Rihanna, Mary Bleitch and Recent Saweetie and more. The 65-year-old industry opinion leader has a long-sleeved and good-natured relationship with fashion entrepreneurs and celebrities in New York and beyond. He has more than 73,000 followers and nearly 5,000 posts on Instagram, mostly fashion images and hilarious memes, some of which make fun of heiresses, celebrity women dating younger men and some of the depression inside during the pandemic. What I am more confused about is that, as a world-renowned beauty group, the company has not paid attention to and actively managed the Ins account of this executive whose main content is sarcasm. What’s even more surprising is that an executive who has been deeply involved in the beauty industry for many years and fully understands the power of social media would jokingly risk telling such a thing. Does he not have a correct understanding of his relatively large fan base and influence?
As soon as the Wall Street Journal broke the Wall Street Journal’s internal email that Estee Lauder’s employees had suspended John, the company posted the internal letter on the Internet, which can be said to have implemented a “zero tolerance” strategy for racially discriminatory remarks. But without systematic and good management of executives’ social media content, it is difficult to prevent similar incidents from happening again. I remember when I was working at WPP, there would be detailed social media content management guidelines in the work manual for employees to sign. Even if it was stated that the content of social media accounts was solely responsible for the individual, there was no way to comment on sensitive information such as race and religion. On the basis of protecting employees’ freedom of speech, many companies have begun to have special internal communication groups, which push practical facts and industry trend comments for employees to use and publish every day. For example, Morgan Stanley will have special financial trend comments. Many employees who do big account management will use this kind of content release to attract customers and business. Due to limited manpower, not all companies can do this in detail, but at least they will always remind executives to pay attention to what they say and do on social media when it comes to sensitive issues.
Another good way is to hand over the social media accounts of important company executives to a professional communication team, which can be the content staff of the corporate public relations department or an external professional public relations company. In this context, the social media accounts of the CEO or other executives have become the magic weapon for creating a professional persona. It is possible to create a unique executive image that is consistent with the corporate brand values, and has a flesh-and-blood temperament under the background of investigating executives of comparable companies of the same type, and publishes it at an important time for cultural diversity and inclusiveness. Corresponding positive energy content, such as African American History Month in February and Women’s Culture Month in March, corresponding understanding and content release can generate more topics based on tags, and also bring good interaction for companies and personal brands .
Finally, the content of corporate executives’ social media accounts, especially executives of listed companies, should also pay attention to the compliance of information disclosure. The controversial Twitter of Iron Man Elon Musk has been closely followed by the SEC, and executives of Chinese concept stocks who have frequently had no experience before, took the lead in publishing core information such as the company’s new product launch on Weibo. It has also aroused a lot of criticism for not releasing it through a press release and other forms of compliance.
A high-level corporate executive speaking on a public social media platform should actually be equivalent to being interviewed by the media. After the refinement and training of core information, self-media publishing should be the same as traditional media management, which has become an important topic. After all, remarks and opinions can be personal, but executives who are backed by Big Tree have no room for willful speeches.
(This article only represents the author’s own views, editor in charge: Yan Man [email protected])