Damaging the brand

I like Vodafone; they’re my network provider and have been for over a year. They’re reasonably priced, the customer service is efficient and I can even get coverage in the back and beyond of North Leeds.

Essentially; they’re a solid brand. But thanks to their recent gaffe and track record I just can’t take them or their marketing seriously anymore.

It’s like this; what’s more detrimental to brand perception? When someone doesn’t like them? Holds a grudge? And then these feelings of angst are vented online or wherever else.


When the gaffes provide so much satirical fuel that the brand becomes a mere laughing stock or object of ridicule.

Web 2.0 empowers the individual with a voice that can be heard far and wide. As a result consumer hordes are able vent directly online; some people do it for sh*ts and giggles, others do it because they’ve genuinely had a bad experience. For brands this is inevitable; you don’t go out in the rain without getting wet, and to be fair (and to steal an Amy Johnston phrase); the only thing worse than being talked about;  is not being talked about.

But when you’re consistently blundering within the social media sphere, the ineptness starts to beggar belief and eventually the brand becomes somewhat of a joke. Just have a look at some of these tweets; here, here, here , here and here. Amusing.

I don’t doubt the power of the consumer voice in social media; I know it’s old hat but I regularly use ‘Dell Hell‘ as a case study with clients. However in the future, brand perceptions will be damaged to a higher extent, by satire. This isn’t some consumer spouting inane profanity because your one of your adverts was misleading; these are people going out of their way to parody the brand because of f**k ups; something that’s far more resonating.

Look at it like this; someone says

‘You’re ugly’

Someone else says:

‘You’re so ugly I wouln’t ride you into battle’

Which gets more laughs? Which quip are you more likely to pass on to your mates? Doesn’t take a genius.

Consistent gaffes>Satire fuel>Resonating satire>Trivialised brand perception>Damage

Living and breathing the brand zeitgeist like the back of your hand is the standard place to start for avoiding social media sh*tstorms, but here’s some further precautionary measures I drew up:

  • Think laterally and logically.
  • ALIGN EVERYTHING with the client’s in-house marketing/comms activity.
  • Be creative; hashtags are like Werthers- they haven’t been original since the 1800’s.
  • Every messes up; sh*t happens. Own up, take responsibility..heck maybe even play on it 🙂

That is all.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s