Burger King’s Big Hack Attack: How to Respond to Anything Fast

Yesterday, someone, probably Anonymous, hacked Burger King’s Twitter account and posted a bunch of rather unfunny tweets. Some of the G-rated highlights include: “Just got sold to McDonalds because the whopper flopped = FREDOM is FAILURE.” And “If I catch you at wendys we’re fightin.”

Reaction was swift. Many people posted tweets that are actually humorous making fun of the company. And a social media worker for another fast food brand wrote, “My real-time nightmare is playing out” on the Burger King Twitter feed.

Oh, please. Burger King’s followers have already jumped by 30% without the company doing anything. And they have a huge opportunity today if they can move fast. Suddenly all eyes are on them, and if they can respond with grace, humor, and maybe some timely deals, they could have a big social media win and even some ROI. For example they might do some of the following (and please add your own ideas below):

  • Tweet: “Having a bad day? We can relate. Here’s the good news. Whoppers are half off ‘til Sunday.”
  • Rework the image the hackers posted to be an advertisement. Change the text to “FRYDOM is SUCCESS,” and offer a deal on fries.
  • Offer ten free Whoppers and a spelling lesson to anyone who can prove they’re a member of Anonymous (ok, that’s maybe a little too snarky).

The lesson here is that we live in a real time world, and brands have to be ready to jump on real time opportunities. But how? The main principle is that speed takes planning. You might think that to manage a creative business (or any business) you have to come up with great ideas all the time. You don’t. Your day job is to create the right conditions for other people to come up with great ideas. And if you want them to do so fast, you have to lay the groundwork extremely well.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. Doing anything fast takes preparation. If you watch Rachael Ray make a 30 minute meal, for example, pay attention to her first move. She grabs a big bowl, loads it up with a gigantic pile containing every ingredient she needs, and carefully walks it over to her cutting board. That preparation enables her to work very quickly. When most of us cook, we find every ingredient as we need it and walk across the kitchen 45 times in the process. We can’t make a meal in 30 minutes because we spend 30 minutes getting the stuff to make the meal.

So we’ve come up with a few ideas below on how brands—or more correctly the people behind them—can move fast. And for what it’s worth, these ideas translate pretty well to any kind of project, even personal ones.

Budget. Nothing’s worse than having a real-time opportunity and no money to jump on it. We typically advise setting aside a certain percentage of your marketing budget for these kinds of opportunities.

Staff. If you want to go fast, you have to have a team in place with their ears on the ground. Without real-time intelligence, you won’t have real-time opportunities.

Practice. Because real time opportunities are random, your team needs experience. Not just by doing things live, but by practicing responses to unexpected events. This morning, your team should be devising your response to a similar attack on your Twitter feed.

Incentivize. You want your team razor sharp? Give them a reason to be out there hunting for and executing ideas.

Establish a clear chain of command. To seize real time opportunities, you need to be unambiguous about who will make decisions on what. Without a clear chain of command, you cannot act quickly.

Reward failure. Success in fast, real-time efforts often depends on things outside your control. So reward effort not outcome.

We hope it’s clear this is a methodology more than a specific plan. You should adapt it to whatever you’re doing, and with any luck you’ll find your own ways to move faster. And now let’s have some fun. Today, most people are tweeting humorous responses making fun of Burger King. How should they respond? What should they be tweeting back? Let us know below.

See original article and more of Shane's Linkedin Influencer posts.

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