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Why do messages fail? As 2015 draws to a close, many businesses are left wondering why they failed to reach marketing and social media goals. Performing a careful audience analysis and aligning marketing messages with the values and beliefs of that audience nearly ensures success. Yet, in a world where social media allows nearly any user to create a profile and interact with your brand, messages are received by wider audiences than ever before. This unprecedented diversity means that any message that can be mocked or misinterpreted will be—and the results can be devastating. So, what happens when a brand’s message is misaligned with the intended audience? Let’s take a look one monstrous example.

In September of 2014, DiGiorno Pizza made arguably one of the biggest branding blunders in history when they jumped on the viral hashtag #WhyIStayed. This hashtag allowed victims of domestic violence to tell their stories, but the brand used the hashtag for some shameless self-promotion. After nearly immediately deleting the tweet, DiGiorno Pizza was bombarded with angry messages and spent the next few days paying for their mistake.

So, what went wrong here? A generally well-liked, respected brand joined a trending topic on Twitter, adigiorno-tweetnd may have irreparably tarnished their image. Aside from utterly failing to investigate the trending topic before chiming in, DiGiorno Pizza misunderstood the tone and seriousness of the campaign. Lacking in preparation, DiGiorno Pizza created a message that was horribly misaligned with the company’s young, diverse Twitter following. As a result, DiGiorno Pizza may have lost customers for good.

The pitfalls of messaging and language in marketing are plentiful and widespread, and Laura Mitchell Consulting can help your business avoid them. Want to know what your marketing strategies say about you? Let’s chat! Contact us here or email us at info@lmcllc.us.

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