With #AskJPM hashtag, JP Morgan Chase tried to be open in social media. Tom Lee was supposed to answer questions from the public on Twitter. It went viral, oh yes it did. In 6 hours, they got thousands of questions, but not the kind that bank marketers would expect. Twitter hijacked the hashtag using it to post jokes about JPMorgan, to put in a light company questionable practices (11 federal investigations make it rather easy), and to generally embarass the company. JP Morgan cancelled the event after six hours of public bashing, but it did not stop the crisis immediately. If you search Twitter for #AskJPM or the new hashtag #AskJPMFail, you will find related posts even two weeks later.
It is an example what happens, when company has not only bad reputation, but also bad marketers, who follow the buzz words without really knowing what happens in the digital space. JP Morgan inadvertently invited for the discussion its wildest enemies and was very lucky that it did not catch attention of 4chan crowd. Still the humour taken directly from The Onion and criticism in Stephen Colbert‘s type plus revolutionary ideas of the Yes Men arrived at the scene.
Analyzing this failure, we can come to few ideas on how it happened. First, we believe that JP Morgan’s marketing/communication team just does not use social media. Secondly, they did not even listen to it using external agencies, otherwise they would know what image has their company. This image is far away from internal communication of helping clients to earn more. It is about greedy creatures who kill indigenous tribes, who help cocaine smugglers, who rob U.S. citizens from their homes to be paid bonuses that are higher than lifetime savings of average Joe Doe. Or maybe they are so brain washed that their cognitive dissonance enforces denial of such knowledge.
To avoid such cases marketers should learn one crucial lesson. Before any active engagement, you need to listen first. Before you post on a board, first you need to “lurk” on it for a while, and try to get your answer using search feature. Before engaging on a social media platform, you need to learn the unwritten rules of the community posting there.
Social media is about dialogue, and even JP Morgan marketing team should learn that from thousands of presentation from Agencies who try to make money with them. Dialogue means, that there is no one-way communication, when the brand sets the tone. There is always a response, and it will be fast and unpredictable.
Does it mean that financial services should stay away from the social media space? Of course not. There are ways to be there without outraging people. Why not start from listening and providing a fast customer service? What about trying to show the good things about your company (we believe JP Morgan is not as bad as believed), and to humbly admit obvious wrongdoing?
It all has to be planned with a multichannel communication strategy in mind. Does JP Morgan have its target audience defined? Are they really on Twitter? What is the goal of the communication? It seems nobody asked this questions before, thus #AskJPMFail.
Still, we see the hope for financial services marketing in digital channels. As April Rudin a founder of The Rudin Group reports on HuffPo in the lobby of Goldman Sachs World Headquarters you can find a Social Media Lighthouse promoting new ways of marketing to their employees.
Author: Piotr Wrzosiński