Gloria Jean’s Coffees’ is the latest brand to fall victim to a social media disaster as a twitter tirade fuelled by angry customers unfolds online. What started for the company as a social media campaign framed to increase customer sales and highlight their corporate social responsibility ended in a cringe worthy social media crisis every PR and marketing professional fears.

This campaign may have been designed to highlight Gloria Jean’s Coffees’ associations with various charities including the Kids Helpline, Variety Australia and Camp Quality, however, customers used Twitter to express their anger at the organisations alleged association with the Australian Christian Lobby Group, which actively rallies against gay marriage.

What can we learn from this campaign as PR specialists? What we propose is not revolutionary, nor is it new. In fact we have spoken about this concept a number of times on our own blog, it’s our favourite buzzword…it’s transparency! It’s simple- if customers don’t trust your brand they will not purchase your products or services no matter what your corporate social responsibility portfolio looks like!

So we pose this question to you…how transparent is your brand?

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