Tip- Toeing back to the Traditional

January 31, 2012

Virtual togetherness has become all the more apparent as media consumption evolves, it is no secret that watching TV is not just so simple as that, it has become an eclectic mix of TV,  a search term, a blog lurking in the backstage, a pinch of wit, a handful of hash tags and a few interactive apps.

 digital vs traditional media

All brands are frantically jumping on the social media whirlwind in their attempt to engage and interact with the changing media consumption. There has been an explosion in tools, technologies and platforms purpose built for consumer interaction.  

Brands know that they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t enter the social media space. It is a catch 22 situation, a space that they cannot fully control, a transparency they cannot avoid.  Brands’ engagements cannot be overt and in your face. Some brands have fared well in this space, others, just don’t seem to get it right.  Some shout too much, others try too hard to be cool, most simply do not know their audience. Knowing your audience and understanding their motivation to follow and engage with your brand is the key to success. 

We have seen a few brands get their comeuppance in the social space and run back to the traditional space with their tails wagging between their legs. The most recently documented social media fail was seen last week with McDonald’s campaign on Twitter. An attempt to get McDonalds trending on Twitter in a positive light turned into a sabotage on their brand, consumers took their hash tag and the opportunity to rant about all their unpleasant experiences at the fast food chain, within a couple of hours the tirade of abusive tweets had got so out of hand that they were forced to pull the campaign.  The open democratic forum proved far too open in this case.

McDonalds are not the first brand this has happened to.  Last year, Sauce makers Ragu used its Twitter account to churn out spam tweets directing them to view a video of mummy bloggers insulting their cooking skills, this ended in a social media storm directed at the brand. Quantas also suffered a similar fate last year, just after strike action when they had stranded 1000’s of passengers they launched a free flight competition , all you had to do was share your #Quantasluxury experiences, needless to say the hash tag was hijacked by dissatisfied customers.

Thus whilst brands attempt to tiptoe between engagement and marketing, they find themselves led back to traditional marketing vehicles again.

Marketers need to be careful not to tip the balance of social engagement towards conspicuous marketing. Surely, the last thing they want introduced is a “dislike” button.



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