We discussed topics such as network effects, diffusion of innovation and the evolving trend of corporate landscape through social media in Week 3’s session. I was particularly interested on the case about online activism to boycott A&F due to its CEO’s discriminatory press release. While there is nothing wrong about segmenting and targeting the consumer market to differentiate from the competitors, it is the way that these messages are executed and delivered that matters the most.
The CEO was apparently oblivious about the power of word-of-mouth in today’s connected world. Negative sentiments can spread like wildfire and create a dent in a company’s reputation if not contained.
However there is another approach to publicity that is “all press is good press!”. This is especially evident in Donald Trump’s campaign for the Presidency. In fact, it is the way he conducted his entire career; often being in the spotlight for expressing controversial opinions.
Prof Q brought up a good point that this approach will work depending on the context, and brought up Burger King’s campaign to reward facebook users a free whopper if they deleted 10 friends from their friends list. The entire campaign hinges on the insight that we sometimes have too many redundant “friendships” on social media. This may or may not work well depending on the context of culture.
In a place like Asia where “giving face” or “not losing face” are part of our social attitude, deleting a friend (and having it being announced) would be considered rude. Little people would court controversy for themselves like this, rendering this campaign a failure.
I think that other than context, what is most important for companies to craft compelling messages is their ability to align the messages to their audiences beliefs and attitudes. It is often not about the content/intent of the message, but the way it is delivered and to whom it is delivered to, that is the most crucial in building brand reputation/affinity.
Interesting read on Donald Trump’s campaign strategy: