Click and Ruin! – Brand destruction on the net

The term makes it evident that Brand Destruction revolves around defaming a brand. Image building is the life line of any brand. A lot of effort is put into making a brand popular among the masses. It takes a lot of hard work and time for the marketers to successfully position a brand and build a good reputation for the same. In this competitive world it is also difficult to live up to the expectations of the customers. Convincing the customers requires implementation of unique ideas. After a brand becomes successful in the market, starts a new phase of maintaining the good name. This needs consistent planning .A little source of defaming a brand can lead to a total disaster. A little mistake in presentation of the brand, or a customer dissatisfaction leading to brand impression killing can change the entire scene. There are several roads which can lead to Brand Destruction. Some misrepresentation in the print media is one such way. When a customer expresses her dissatisfaction in front of someone, there is a high probability that this negative feedback will be cascaded to reach a lot of potential customers. Consequently the brand will lose its presence in the market. Similarly the world of internet has also become one of the quickest modes of communicating comments and reviews of products and services. Social Networking is one platform which has become the electronic market for the companies.

Social Media Today
Social media is the buzz today. People stay connected round the clock. It takes a few seconds to spread news, to share information, to convey any message. Social media has evolved into an extremely valuable platform in the last decade. It has also helped companies to engage more with the customers. So companies have to be equally careful about their online presence. At times, this also demands different strategies. As per a latest industry report, out of all internet users, 67 % are using social media. Many businesses believe that social media is a necessity. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are among the most popular ones.
Products and services reviews or suggestions are being shared by the customers online. At the same time, the number of customers complaining through social media about the products or the services they use has been increasing. So, it has become very easy to spread a negative word about a brand.
How can just one CLICK play 100 TRICKS?
There are several traps which a brand can fall into. No brand is immune to such traps. The word- of- mouth has taken the form of    word –of- mouse. The point of concern is when a negative word is spread. The various channels over the social media of destroying the image of a brand are as follows:
1. When a customer writes comments in the Product/Service Group or Page mentioning bad reviews or negative feedback, then there are so many other users of the same group who see that. It may so happen that these reviews will affect the future purchase decisions of these people. Only a single post can influence several decisions.
2.When a picture portraying some mistake of a brand is uploaded by an individual or group over the social platform, it is viewed by several others all across the globe. Sharing by a single click reaches millions of users. These users will now start having a negative impression on the brand.
3.At times, the complaints registered on company specific pages also get shared, thus showing to the world what could be the demerits of that particular product/service. 
4.Video showing the negative reactions when shared over the social platform also creates a bad image for the brand.
And the list goes on. One click can lead to nested loops of shares reaching customers in every corner of the world. Moreover these kinds of activities can have immense impact on the business. A few of which can be:
i. Defaming the brand leading to loss of customers. 
ii. Decrease in sales resulting in reduced revenue. 
iii. In extreme cases, might also lead to legal issues resulting in complete backing off from market. 
iv. Customer poaching by competitors. 
v. Relationship with collaborators will be affected.
Hence, Brand Destruction!
Rest in Peace or Fight to Survive?
A negative word about a brand spreads much faster than a positive word. Now the question arises, what should a brand do in such a situation? Whether it should exit silently from the market or try to revive its image. If the complaint or the negative feedback going viral on the net is legitimate, then the brand should make all efforts to be honest and accept the allegation and take steps to recover its services towards the customers. This will be difficult, but this will show to the world that the brand lives up to its promises.
The Thumb Rule:
When a brand is expanding its presence in online medium, it should focus on certain crucial elements which will add to its readiness to face any unforeseen change in tend of the future. Firstly, the brand should align its online presence tactics to its business goals. If they plan to go online with their promotion and increasing share of mind targets then they should continuously monitor what is happening around the network. The brand has to be always alert and should promptly listen to customers in as little time as possible to avoid any spreading of negative views related to complaint not being attended to or problem being ignored by the brand. Secondly, every new step should be taken with caution. Prior research and analysis of social network is an essential step. Brands, by using several tools can keep a track of who is following or re twitting their activities. This will be of great help to avoid any uncertainties of future. Risk is always present, the strategy should be control it the moment one sees the signs.
Readiness-The savior:
Every brand should always be ready to face any kind of challenges. As it is rightly said, if you are not ready today, you will be even less tomorrow.  So, today is the time. Act now!
[The article has been written by Swetali Kar. She has completed her PGDM in XIMB, Bhubaneshwar prior to which she has worked with TCS for about two and half years. In her spare time, she loves listening to music, travelling and reading.]

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