Why Staples Employee’s Ill-Timed Tweets Are No Big Deal

While many brands focus their public relations strategies on demographics, messaging and marketing, the tremendous PR power of employees is often undervalued–or overlooked entirely.

The public is all too familiar with customer service horror stories, which can lead to us to both boycott the brands in question and encourage our friends and family to do the same. Smart brands teach their employees both the skills they need to do their jobs and the important intangibles—the “values”, if you will—that define a brand. Effective employees feel like they’re part of the brand experience and they’re emotionally invested in their jobs.

So we find it difficult to take issue with Regis Mulot, head of global HR at Staples, for announcing via his personal Twitter account that U.S. stores will soon carry Apple products. A strategic accounts coordinator did the same thing–both tweets quickly disappeared, but the second one is still visible on the user’s Instagram account.

Was it a PR debacle?

Sure–it shows that Staples can’t keep its high-level employees on message. And yet, while the leaks may have been inadvertent, they’ll only serve to build buzz (especially if they turn out to be true).

We feel that the employees who issued the revealing tweets should be spared any serious repercussions. Staples should be proud of employing people who enjoy their jobs so much that they tweet about them. The premature tweets were a small lapse in judgment from individuals who were genuinely excited to throw them into the Twitter-sphere. No harm, no foul.

Putting our emotional response aside, are we okay with employees tweeting about their jobs, or is that something management should openly discourage among the ranks?

What do you think?