Quick! You are the marketing manager for a small, yet successful, bakery chain and you’ve just been told your online company logo has been accidentally changed. What do you do?

If you ask to see the new logo, well…. are you really sure? You are? Alright then. It turns out the company’s down to earth motto has been changed to “Providing s*** to scum for over 70 years.” Now what do you do?

If you said, “Climb under my desk and cry myself to sleep”, you wouldn’t be the only one. You are also not Neil Knowles.

When this exact scenario happened to Greggs bakery chain in the UK, Mr. Knowles, as the company’s brand manager, took to Twitter for some quick damage control. Google’s advance (but apparently not too bright) search algorithms accidentally replaced the company’s real logo with a fake logo found on Wikipedia parody site, Uncyclopedia. Mr. Knowles’ response to the potentially damaging slip up?

Yes, a single picture and tweet turned a potentially disastrous situation into a light hearted occasion to have a good laugh. Google, being Google, responded in kind:

Greggs the Baker’s response once everything was fixed?

A bad situation turned into some extra PR for both Greggs and Google. Besides a good laugh, what can we learn from this case study?

The Humor In Damage Control

The fact that social media can be used when a quick response is needed isn’t news. The problem is, many companies either ignore the potential benefits of social media damage control, or they make a poor attempt at it. Regardless, the mishap with Greggs is a great example of how to do things right.

Corporate communication is usually not a laughing matter. Companies spend millions on marketing and social media to make sure their brand and message are delivered exactly as intended. When a PR nightmare occurs, this response is typically even more serious. If Greggs had been feeling particularly unfriendly that day, the company might have had a case for corporate damages. Instead, the company (thanks in large part to Mr. Knowles) took the opportunity to come out on top.

The power of laughter goes a long way in making “worst case scenarios” better for everyone. Greggs’ actions is proof that sometimes the most strategic response is counterintuitive.

Now, if interstate drivers had the same sense of humor, the world would be a better place.