If at first you don’t succeed, look to the brand ambassadors

Brand ambassadors can help save a company when its own comms team fails.

Diana Bradley, Associate News Editor for PRWeek, with her chickens
Diana Bradley, Associate News Editor for PRWeek, with her chickens

Between April and June, while everyone else was worried about a shortage of essentials such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer, I was obsessively scouring the internet for chicken coops. They, too, had all been snatched up due to the pandemic.

To back up, yes, I am one of the crazy people who flocked to buy live poultry to raise as pets this year. But to be fair, we ordered our four chicks two weeks before the pandemic. At the same time, we ordered a coop from Omlet based on a friend’s recommendation. The first thing I noticed when researching the coop was that there was a Facebook group with 1,500 people who raved about the product and swapped tips. I joined the group before I even received the product to “listen in” on the conversations about it.

Our chicks arrived on time. Our coop did not. The original delivery date kept getting pushed back due to unexpected demand. In the meantime, we had four chickens living in our bathroom. I felt bad for my family and for the chickens.

The shipping date kept getting farther away and we realized we were only finding this out when we contacted the company to check in. There was no proactive communications from Omlet and no apology.

The line they kept giving me on the phone was that they just didn’t have enough product to keep up with the demand. That’s a pain in normal circumstances, but the stakes are a bit higher when it impacts living animals.

I understood Omlet was having issues. It’s a pandemic and unknown situation for everyone. However, with every delay and no transparency, I got angrier until I finally canceled the order. I took to the Facebook page to complain. But instead of sympathy, I was almost attacked by group members as many stood up for the brand and shared how wonderful the product is and how the customer service team is wonderful under non-pandemic circumstances.

The stories inspired me to keep trying to get an Omlet and I’m happy to report that we eventually were able to get one on Facebook Marketplace. And we love it.

The takeaway: Brand ambassadors can truly save a company when its own communications team fails.

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