In an aspiration to reach millions, marketers should be focussed and wary of the fact that it can also become a bane and act against their favour. Brand destruction, which prominently results from failure of an organization to live the brand which it has created, could be otherwise avoided if organizations use social media effectively and plans themselves for the missteps that may occur unconsciously.
Various instances have been encountered by marketer in various industries when social media marketing have actually worked against the favour of an organization. To understand this phenomenon we would select few service provider companies, analyse their social media presence and their responses to various unexpected posts on their updates.
Unless some sort of mishap takes place, social media marketing remains to be a cakewalk for an organization with crystal clear image. It takes a challenging face only after there arises a situation which puts an organization under the scanner of a general public in large which in turn makes it difficult for an organization to handle the rampant posts and comments to almost whatever product / service they may attempt to market.
We would first take social media marketing attempt of Vodafone India. Vodafone India has 6, 68, 946 likes. Recently when Vodafone updated a post of having been selected the 2nd best telecom and 24th best organization in India to work for and updated the image as in figure 01, it bagged 870 likes, 102 comments and 173 shares. Out of 102, 34 comments were negative and random in fashion ranging from complaints like “This news is crap”, “I don’t get rights to publish my complaints on your page”, “You guys deduct my balance without my usage” etc. But interestingly Vodafone India’s strategy was aggressive and they ensured that they replied to all the grievances actively. This kind of attitude of Vodafone India may also help them turning the customers having large number of grievances to the ambassadors of an organization. Handling the customers’ grievances in telecom industry in India becomes still more significant as now the switching cost of customer is at its bottom with the introduction of number portability scheme by Telecom Authority of India (TRAI).
Tracking the social media page of Bharti Airtel, we came across one of the trivia update posted by Airtel which exhibited no commitments from their side. The same is shown in figure 02. Out of 24, 93, 224 people who liked the page, only 19 people commented on the update out of which 14 were negative and others were neutral. Compared to Vodafone, Airtel could respond to early 2 comments aggressively, but then other complaints were not responded too and then they carried larger number of likes. Such loosely managed consumer complaint addresser effort from service provider companies, when especially customers have privilege of switching the service provider at little or no additional cost could provide a big dent, not only on the companies’ reputation but also on the companies’ business and bottom line eventually. Such observations could be generalized across various posts on such social networking medium where in it becomes difficult for service provider to address each of the complaint and then it raises a debatable though of whether service provider should use an interactive social media marketing which may go against their very purpose of benevolent marketing campaigns. This is turn may eventually result in brand destruction.
Moreover it is not always that organizations make large gaffes themselves; sometimes there exists various smaller invisible gaffes made by either their distributors or some last mile retailers. Marketers should ensure they reduce such invisible gaffes by tracking each point over value chain because word of mouth nowadays have assumed a scary face through social media marketing which multiplies exponentially across geographical boundaries, denting not only the local region but affecting business across globe.
Avoiding brand destruction becomes a challenge for an organization today, especially because of the fact, that when they were trying to catch up with the tools and techniques of various social media marketing, brand destruction concept is bothering them in a face of unexpected ghost. They now may have to focus on coming up with a dedicated, on line issue resolution team focussed on social marketing mediums who would help them retain the crystal clear image by addressing each complaints effectively and patiently. Such actions in longer run would only leave the ambassadors in face of consumers. Such learning could be derived from the case of Toyota and Nokia, who emerged successfully from their service issues and battery explosion issues respectively in an efficient manner. Acting responsibly pays higher dividend and helps in creating brand equity rather than detaching your organization from brand crisis and posing an irresponsible image to customers.
Brand destruction could jeopardise all the efforts put in by a marketer as the distance between each of the consumer has reduce to mere six pixels.[/sociallocker]