Critical Business Globalization Lessons From the World Cup Social Media: What You Can Learn from Dutch Airline’s Tweet Fail

By July 14, 2014Uncategorized

Today I read that the World Cup 2014 final has broken social media records on Facebook. How impressive to know that 88 million people had more than 280 million interactions on Facebook during the game. That’s even bigger than last year’s Super Bowl which resulted in 245 million interactions. We can only imagine what those numbers are for all other social media platforms.

It is only valid to consider that there are major lessons to be learned from the power of social media during such global events.

This brings us to discuss how another corporate brand fell victim to silly social media debate a few weeks ago. The heated discussion brought to us courtesy of The Netherlands’ Royal Dutch Airlines, Twitter handle @KLM.

During the final minutes of World Cup game between Netherlands and Mexico, the Dutch plane operator tweeted a joke deemed racially insensitive. The company has now apologized for this oversight and deleted the comment.

royal dutch airline


Looking from a perceptive of business globalization, what you can take away from Royal Dutch’s social media performance is to get your brand communication in the right direction.

How Mindfulness Connects 

Mindful multiculturalism is very important for personal growth, well-being, and business success. As the Internet and other technological advances make it easier for people to communicate across various countries at record speed and inexpensively, it is increasingly evident that a globalization phenomenon is happening. Whether you join the movement or not may make or break you. In this case, Royal Dutch’s lack of mindfulness has gotten them in tangled mess. They have since deleted the tweet, yet a simple Google search will still bring you images of the obtuse tweet, which brings on new waves of backlash and angered responses.

Overcome Ethnocentrism

Though it is difficult to set aside cultural biases at all times, mindful multiculturalism will help to prevent alienating potential target markets and hurting business. According to BBC Newsbeat, Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal tweeted to announce to his 1.94 million followers that he will no longer fly with KLM again. Consider the damage as hundreds of other people also complained on easily accessible social outlets.

Multicultural conversations

Learning another language is an excellent method to open up your mind to a new way of thinking.  It is easier to understand people from different backgrounds when you can see how the speaker perceives the world and how their language has been impacted by the culture’s history. “[The tweet] was meant to be a joke but there was too much negative reaction,” said KLM spokeswoman Lisette Ebeling Koning. A deeper comprehension from the airline of their soccer opponent’s culture might have saved them from such social media wrath.

News story source – BBC Trending News,  BBC Newsbeat Technology.