Lemonade, Queen Bey and Rachael Ray – the Potentially Serious Consequences of a Silly Thing

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This past weekend, a silly bit of Twitterverse crowd-shaming occurred, and it mistakenly disrupted business for a very high-profile Chef and her social media accounts.

It started over the weekend, after Beyoncé’s hour-long visual album, Lemonade, was released on Saturday, April 23.  Fashion designer Rachel Roy (who is rumored to have had an affair with Queen Bey’s husband, Jay Z) hinted on Instagram that she might be the other woman alluded to in Lemonade—the object of the superstar’s scorn, Rachael Ray response to Lemonade hatersBecky with the good hair.”

Designer Roy got her big fashion break as creative director of Rocawear, the clothing company started by Jay Z and her now ex-husband Damon Dash. (Dash is also Jay’s former manager, and the two are co-founders of Roc-A-Fella Records.)

Predictably, members of the Beyhive came out swinging, some of them mistakenly taking aim at Celebrity Chef Rachael Ray, not Rachel Roy (who has since made her Instagram feed private).

While this all seems a bit juvenile, and frankly the image of Jay Z and Chef Ray (JayRay?) as a romantic couple is just a bit bizarre, there are real profit & loss statements attached to these brands (not to mention more than 80 million social media fans and followers).  What would your business do if your CEO were incorrectly accused of, what we can only “punningly” refer to as, poor taste? How about something more serious?

Rachel Roy Altered Wiki PageTaking advantage of the publicity, the RachaelRayShow Instagram feed published a recipe for “lemon shake-up with lemonade lavender ice cubes.”  Their response is all well and good, and in good humor, but companies, organizations and brands do need a solid go-to plan in case a situation occurs where real brand damage, or worse, is the result.

Ask your teams:

  1. When a negative Alert or Mention Alarm concerning a high-profile leader in your organization is first received who receives it?
  2. How is it verified?
  3. What is the escalation chain?
  4. How much time passes between first mention, and notification to the target of the mention?
  5. Are threats of physical violence being issued?
  6. Is this a situation where increased physical security may be called for?
  7. Who makes that determination?
  8. Have police or other authorities been notified?
  9. Is the target of the threats accessible to notification?
  10. Is the target trained, along with close family and associates, to take threats seriously and take action immediately?

RRGoogIf you were the person in your organization who saw first mention of a threat, would you know who to notify? Many people are afraid to notify anyone because they fear being wrong or being perceived as over-reactive.

The threats facing an executive vary widely depending on the size of the company, the industry it belongs to and the individual executive’s profile, but they absolutely do exist. Risks to monitor include threats of rumor leaks, extortion, illegalities and irregularities, kidnapping, carjacking, mail-borne explosives, biological agents, eco-terrorism and more. Threats issued via social media or other technology are common today and must be included in monitoring, and if they are included in monitoring, an escalation and communication process and procedure plan must accompany the monitoring plan.

While this little “Bey-ton Place” drama gives some high-profile brands more exposure than they really need, the incident does serve as a good reminder to look at your own plans, procedures and protocol for response and escalation, and address the gaps. And if we learned one thing from Beyonce’s visual album debut, it’s that somebody messed up. We may not have an answer for Beyonce, but we have one for you.  Let us know how and when we can help.

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