How to get out of the mess Chiara Ferragni got herself into – Il Post

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On Wednesday, influencer and entrepreneur Chiara Ferragni returned to publishing content on Instagram, the platform that contributed most to building her fame and career. Since December 18, when he shared a video apologizing for a “miscommunication” in the now famous promotional campaign for the Balocco line of pandoros, in which he gave the so-called impression that the proceeds would go to charity, which is not true .

A few days ago, the antitrust authority, the Competition and Market Authority, severely punished two companies owned by Ferragni for misleading advertising, which caused a significant image crisis. In recent weeks, Ferragni has received a lot of criticism and attacks, has been the subject of debates and editorials, and it seems that all of this may have significantly jeopardized her public image, which until now has been generally positive. And for an influencer like her, reputation is an essential element of her activities and earnings.

In the first Stories posted on Instagram after the apology video, Ferragni told his followers — who still number 29.5 million despite the recent scandal — that he misses him. She then thanked both the people who were close to her in recent weeks and those who “expressed their opinion, even negative ones, in a calm and constructive tone, because in life there is always time to discuss, think and start again.”

The stories have attracted a lot of attention, as Ferragni normally posts several pieces of content a day on Instagram, which is why his silence has been noted. But also because they are the first step in what could be a long process of rehabilitating his reputation, helping Ferragni maintain his influence with the public and appease the companies he does business with. Ferragni must prove that he is still a reliable collaborator and a credible witness if he does not want to lose contracts and sources of income.

Due to the enormous amount of attention paid to the public and private lives of celebrities (to which, before social networks, the large sector of journalism devoted to finding scandals and gossips contributed), even before social networks it was quite easy for actors, singers, models, intellectuals and other well-known personalities to come across a certain phase of his career to a more or less serious scandal capable of changing public perception in the short and long term.

Since the careers of celebrities also largely depend on how they are perceived by the public, there is an entire field of public relations—the field that deals with managing and disseminating information about individuals, companies, or other types of organizations to the public in order to influence their perception— dedicated to “crisis management”, i.e. measures to be taken to minimize the consequences of a sudden and disruptive event. A crisis can be the revelation of an affair or substance abuse problem, the dissemination of non-consensual intimate images or, increasingly, the strong reaction of masses of people online to the sharing of a controversial opinion.

– Read also: For celebrities, apologizing has become part of the job

In the case of Chiara Ferragni, the crisis in question began when the antitrust authority fined two of her companies €1.4 million, as well as confectionery firm Balocco, for a promotional campaign for the Balocco pandori line Ferragni collaborated on in 2022. : “Pandoro Pink Christmas” , presented as a charity initiative for the Regina Margherita Hospital in Turin. According to Antitrust, the campaign was deceptive because it led people to believe that the sale of each Pandora contributed to a charitable donation to the hospital, when in fact the amount of the donation had already been determined by Balocco regardless of sales.

The fine received a lot of media attention, even the Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni commented on it; which caused the influencer to lose approximately 157k followers, which is still a small fraction of the total; and the leadership of the multinational eyewear company Safilo to discontinue collaboration with Ferragni.

Before taking a break from Instagram, Ferragni posted a much-discussed apology video, especially for the fact that the influencer chose to present himself with modest and modest-looking makeup and clothes that are very different from his usual style. That’s according to Kelcey Kintner, the company’s vice president task force international Red Banyan, which has been dealing with similar cases for years, however, the initiatives Ferragni is taking follow exactly the pattern of behavior that is recommended for celebrities in these cases.

“The fact that she apologized immediately is good and the apology seemed genuine to me, although I think she definitely could have taken more responsibility for her mistake,” he says. “Calling it a ‘miscommunication’ doesn’t exactly give the impression that you’re taking responsibility for what went wrong.”

Kintner also believes that staying silent after the apology was a good move: “If you apologize and then immediately go back to posting as usual and promoting your brand, you can come across as tone-deaf (to public concern). Anyone caught in the middle of a mess like this wants to go from bad publicity to positive contributions as quickly as possible, but there’s no way to flip a switch and make things better immediately. Rebuilding the trust of fans takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight. But fans know that celebrities are also human beings who make mistakes: the important thing is to admit the mistake, overcome it and change your behavior accordingly.”

For example, Ferragni announced that he would donate one million euros to the Regina Margherita Hospital and that in the future he would separate “completely any charitable activity that I have always done and will do from commercial activities”. According to Kintner, it’s a smart move: one of the central pieces of advice he likes to give crisis manager is to demonstrate that you are prepared to accompany the apology with a concrete action with a strong impact. “I would also recommend that you consider volunteering at a hospital and learning more about the suffering of sick children,” she says.

“Whether it’s an out-of-context fling that goes viral or a more serious ethical breach, the approach generally remains the same: you need to address the issue quickly by being honest and making sure you know how to take responsibility and take concrete action to to repair the damage,” confirms Lauren Beeching, founder of Honest London, another crisis and online reputation management company.

In this sense, Beeching believes that Ferragni’s choice to avoid posting content on Instagram for a while served to acknowledge the gravity of the situation and demonstrated a cautious approach aimed at repairing his reputation in the long term. In his experience, stopping posting online for a period after a crisis also takes time to develop a new strategy for engaging with your audience by communicating a greater sense of transparency and authenticity. In addition, Ferragni’s break from social media occurred around Christmas, a time when marketing activities are particularly intense.

According to Beeching, in addition to regaining the public’s trust, Ferragni must also focus on avoiding long-term fallout in relationships with other companies he works with as an influencer, model and designer, including Intimissimi, Bulgari, Nespresso and Louis Vuitton. . And it already had some consequences: in addition to the interruption of cooperation with Safilo, Republic said that multinational Coca-Cola has decided to no longer work on a commercial that was supposed to be shot in January in Milan, starring Ferragni, preferring to change the subject given the controversy that still surrounds the influencer.

“Brands are becoming more cautious about associating their name with that of an influencer or celebrity and are often looking for people whose reputation is intact,” explains Beeching. “Ferragni’s challenge will be to demonstrate through genuine and sustained commitment to charity that he has learned from his mistakes. This kind of effort can help to restore the reputation in line with the one desired by the brands: constant monitoring of public opinion and media representation will be necessary to ensure the success of the operation.”

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