What did we learn?
Well, that The Presidency is allegedly a huge fan of Idols and extremely upset to be missing Sunday night's episode due to being in a different timezone. The Presidency tweeted, "OH NO!! I'm missing out on @IdolsSA. I'm far away in another timezone. #sadness".
Really? We love Idols too! But wait - shouldn't they be running the country? Then again, even government should be allowed to have a love for Idols. Besides, it makes their brand more accessible, friendly and human. It seemed that finally there was someone in government trying to make The Presidency brand one that is accessible to the masses. After all, a brand that is in touch with its supporters, relates to them and connects with them on issues directly related to its purpose as well as on a more personal, slightly removed level, is well on its way to being well-loved and successful. Nothing wrong with having a bit of personality no matter how serious your brand is. Right? Right.
Then, just as we thought we could relate, another tweet pops up saying, "The last tweet was not an official tweet from The Presidency or the President but rather an administrative error. Our apologies." Oh, we thought there was the potential that it was a tweet from a presidency run by actual warm-blooded people who are in touch with the people they serve and govern. Needless to say, there was quite a bit of backlash from the Twitterverse.
What did we learn?
Brands belong to the people.
Brands are personal.
Brands need to connect with and interact with their consumers and supporters.
Brands make mistakes, but it is how they deal with them that makes all the difference.
So, did this incident strengthen or weaken The Presidency's brand? We think it is fairly obvious that the brand has been weakened even further.
The release of the "Idols tweet" received some negative criticism from people who are so used to the government being an impersonal entity and were shocked to find human beings behind the façade, but it was even more damaged by the attempted back peddling by blaming it on administrative errors. The last thing the public needs is to be told that our government is making more mistakes, regardless of how small.
We believe the government can do with a bit of a personal touch, a bit of humour and a bit of humanness amongst the mundane tweets such as, "President Zuma returns from the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development" and "President Zuma visits Madiba". Had they left the Idols tweet alone and treated it as if it were intentional, they could have scored some "we are human points" and they could most likely have saved themselves from losing even more competency points.
Since this is about the public, what do you, as the public, want? A Presidency brand that interacts with its people and shows its human and caring side...or a rigid, impersonal and completely inaccessible brand?
PS. @PresidencyZA, perhaps you should follow us on @TBUAfrica for a bit of help on the matter.The Brand Union is a global brand design agency. Making sure a brand's purpose is brought to life in a meaningful manner through all touch points, is our business. www.thebrandunion.com.