There is a belief in business that ‘There is no such thing as bad publicity‘. Whilst this may be true for multinationals with millions to spend on PR, this does not apply to your startup. If for any reason you missed Pure Gym’s moment of marketing madness, which was trending for most of yesterday, you should take a moment to read what went wrong and how you can avoid making a similar mistake.
So what did Pure Gym do wrong?
PureGym has had to issue a formal apology after a local Luton & Dunstable gym posted a ‘slavery-based’ fitness workout five days into Black History Month. Whilst it is obvious that there was no racist intent behind the post, the post was widely condemned and mocked.
In their swift apology, Pure Gym made it clear that the post was not approved by their head office. They went on to add ‘individual gyms control their regional social media accounts’. This could explain why this happened in the first place and is the first of our ‘Three lessons to learn from Pure Gym’s marketing faux pas’.
Three lessons to learn from Pure Gym’s marketing faux pas
1. Measure Twice, Cut Once!
Proverbs will serve you will when starting your business. The old adage of measuring twice and cutting once helps to avoid costly mistakes. In the case of Luton & Dunstable’s Pure Gym, a sanity check would have been more appropriate. Had the post been checked by two different people, this PR disaster might have been avoided. Whilst the negative attention won’t affect Pure Gym in the long term, it could destroy a startup.
In all aspects of marketing your startup business, measuring twice and cutting once will save you money and time. From targeting prospects to launching campaigns, double-check everything to avoid mistakes. You will make some mistakes but you want to make sure they are not going to destroy all your hard work.
2. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
Staying on the theme of proverbs, startups must understand when it comes to marketing, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Whilst social media can be an amazing tool to generate leads and promote your business, it is very important to remember that it should be used as part of the marketing mix and not as a free marketing platform. Posting for the sake of posting eventually leads to situations like the one Pure Gym is now facing.
When it comes to social media, jumping on trends to be noticed can often backfire and should be done with extreme caution. As a startup, gaining the attention of prospective customers and clients should be a top priority. This doesn’t mean you should shoot from the hip. Think carefully about your messaging and what you align your brand with.
3. Two heads are better than one
When it comes to problem-solving, two heads are clearly better than one. The assumption here is that the one head is not a member of mensa. As an entrepreneur, it is important to remember that you don’t have to be an expert in every field. If you are running a startup and you are your team, it makes sense to get advice from a wiser ‘head’ to keep that marketing faux pas at bay.
If you don’t understand Google Adwords, reach out to someone who has experience in running Google Adword campaigns. There are many contacts you can connect with via networking on sites like LinkedIn. Many of these individuals will happily share advice for free. Need help writing a press release? Again, there are many experienced individuals you can reach out to. You may find treating someone to lunch for five minutes of advice may save you from making costly marketing mistakes.
If you have done all the hard work to get your business idea out of your head and created a business, do you really want to risk it? By choosing not to lean on advice from more experienced individuals, you are potentially only one step away from a marketing faux pas that could kill your reputation and business.