Do Damaged Brands Have More Opportunities In Social Media?

Do problems with your brand mean more opportunities in social media?

I spend a lot of time thinking about how companies can use social media tools to enhance their communications efforts.

  • Some involve a new take on traditional outbound or inbound marketing.
  • Some are conversational, building relationships rather than “selling.”
  • Some focus on customer service and solving pain points for people.

It occurs to me that to some extent, the effectiveness of two of the options above may depend on the state of your existing brand.

Caveat: This is by no means the only factor involved in this decision, which is why companies need to approach social media from a strategic perspective (with full consideration of multiple factors) rather than a tactical one.

If your brand is healthy and people generally think positive things about your organization, well-targeted communications along interruption and destination-based lines may be well received. However, if your brand has little equity and people are distrustful, it may be that you have more to gain from other social media approaches than healthy brands.


Because the bar is set low.

Angry customer on the phoneWooden corporations can benefit greatly from allowing some personality within their online activities. As I often say, people don’t want relationships with brands; they want them with people. (Note: I’m not talking about slick artwork and design; I’m talking about real people.)

Similarly, if your brand is on thin ice, online customer service improvements can be received with open arms. Peoples’ expectations are so low that just solving problems (essentially, taking them from a negative to a neutral state with the product/service) can have positive effects on your brand. Companies like Dell and Comcast bave benefited greatly from this approach.

As I noted recently, it’s when times are tough that you can differentiate your company.

What do you think? Do you think companies have more to gain from social media when their brand is suffering?

(Image: Shutterstock)

30 Responses toDo Damaged Brands Have More Opportunities In Social Media?

  • Interesting question. I think a company that already has a positive reputation and lots of goodwill in the community can definitely enhance that through social media. But a damaged or struggling brand definitely has more opportunities – if they can blow people away with their engagement, customer service, or content then people may start to see them in a different light.

  • Absolutely. You can take the gloves off if you are a damaged brand. After all, what do you have to lose? Your brand needs a dose of transparency and engagement to restore the faith of your following/customers.

  • Hmm, I think I agree. But, it’s all kind of sad, isn’t it? And at the same time, a GOOD brand is slaughtered for NOT being social media savvy. Sometimes, I think we’re too harsh. There are other ways to do good, no?

  • There does seem to be a growing list of companies that are using social media to turn the tide. Obviously you have Scott Monty over at Ford and how he’s helped overcome the bad feeling over the bailouts. Then you have Sprint and Comcast and Dell. So, the opportunity is there.

    But it makes me wonder if it’s better suited to brands that have a larger presence? They have the manpower and money that they can put toward the brand reparation.

    But say the shoe is on the other foot and the poorer business is in the same bad brand boat (hey, alliteration!). 🙂

    Will they have the time and effort needed to make a strong rescue case, or will they have to chalk it up to experience and call it a day?

    Be interesting to see who it benefits the most.

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