It can take years to build a brand, but only social media to destroy it

“Social media includes websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.” (Oxford dictionaries)


Social media has moved the brand building task from top management to everyone inside and outside of the firm. Customers and stakeholders have become co-producers in creating image and value to the brand and interaction between stakeholders has decreased the companys role in brand building process.

In todays world people spend more time on internet than ever and according to studies 74% of all adults online use social media networking sites. It is important to realize and not underestimate the power of social media. Consumers and all stakeholders share their thoughts, opinions and experiences with each other and with firms and it doesn’t even matter is it true or not. And all this happens fast and globally.

Variety of brands is large, so other people’s opinions matters when consumer is choosing the brand. Even tiny misunderstanding can destroy the whole brand image so firms need to understand the power of social media. Customers can spread all over the internet false or true negative experiences and thoughts about company and firm need to know how to act when things like this happens and even better to prepare themselves and act before permanent damage is done.

When using social media right, firms can benefit from it gaining value to the brand. Maria Vernuccio’s research called “Communicating Corporate Brands Through Social Media: An Exploratory Study” includes 60 international corporate brands and compares their interactivity and openness in different social media platforms. To become “confident communicator”, as Vernuccio calls them, companys social media strategy needs to be high in interactivity and high in openness. The study shows that those who are confident communicators have strong brand value and 60% of those brands are ranked between 1st and 20th in Interbrand ranking. Results show aspects what need to be focused on when developing corporates social media strategies in brand building process: 1. all types of social media are used 2. dialogue, not monologue 3. engagement of all stakeholders

So, when firms understand the power of social media and with interactivity and openness in all types of social media, can firms with help of customers create value to the brand worldwide, around the clock and manage to avoid destroying the brand.

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12 Responses to It can take years to build a brand, but only social media to destroy it

  1. clementrigaudeau says:

    I find the topic interesting. Obviously companies have to deal with social media today if they want to grow and to stay in consumers’ mind. And they have to deal with that efficiently. I remember the huge bad buzz that domino’s pizza had on Twitter and Facebook. They were people who posted pictures about beetles and other insects they found inside their pizzas.

    The company never answered on Social medias and people shared these photos and asked for a boycott. After that the CEO in person, apologize on a short video. But it’s the perfect example that if you don’t take into account the possible impact (even bad or good) of Social Media, it can really hurts the brand image of your company…

    • eveliinaf says:

      Exactly! Social media is nowadays big part of marketing and tool to create image to the brand so firms really need to focus on it too and take it seriously. They are real customers who post things in social media, so it is same thing as customer says feedback on face to face to employees. I havent heard about this Dominos pizza case, because we dont have dominos pizza in Finland, but it is great example what impact social media has. Firms need to be open and interactive in social media, so in this kind of things I think the best option is to admit mistake/tell the reason for this and apologize as fast as possible to minimize the consequences. Worst thing is to do nothing and let the social media ruin the whole brand.

  2. ellamarih says:

    It’s true that companies need to be open and interactive in social media and they have to take seriously comments that customers post about them. It’s clear that they can create value to the brand by acting right, but how can they act right? I mean, if we think about the company’s point of view, it can be really difficult to control all the social media sites and the things that customers are talking about the brand. There are customers who want to spread false rumors and negative experiences about the company, and it only takes a second or few when thousands or even millions of people can see the comment. There are no way that companies can entirely prevent the rumors in social media, but they sure can be prepared to the situation when it happens. And that’s why social media strategies in brand building process are so important! 🙂

  3. lucianijdam2015 says:

    Social media plays a huge role in our lives nowadays. Companies cannot deny this anymore and should definitely not underestimate the impact social media can have on its brand. As the title of your blog also says, social media can destroy a brand. When someone posts something negative about a brand this can become widespread news within a few minutes or even seconds. For most companies this is of course their worst nightmare. Therefore the challenge for companies is, how to respond to those negative messages on social media? On the other hand, social media does offer benefits for companies as well. As you state in your last paragraph; when a company understands the power of social media and understands how to deal with this, the company can create brand value with the help of its customers. I totally agree with this point of view!

  4. antoinemazu says:

    An interesting topic and post that make me think about example. I definitively think that companies have to be open and understand social media nowadays. I think more and more companies know how to deal with this issue. I was thinking about Jetblue (airline company) who apologize to every single customer on twitter when their flight had more than 6 hours delay and when they didn’t offer water or foods. Nervertheless it’s quite difficult to answer in every customers making a bad review through social media. People have different expectations and that could make bad review even if you’re services was good.
    It’s a tricky issue that companies have to face everyday!
    Thank you for this post!

  5. arcticminded says:

    With the ongoing boom in social media, it is no surprise that companies aggresively market themselves using social media as a main tool. I have seen first-hand companies blemishing their reputation posting material that is not inline with their company “mission”. It will be interesting to see how companies continue to market themselves on social media.

  6. dianasayapina says:

    The role of Social Media should not be underestimated by the companies. Sometimes it helps a brand to gain more powerful position, but sometimes it could go to opposite direction. Using Social Media in a right and beneficial way is a hard job for marketing specialist as it should be strategically planned. The risks are extremely high, in today’s world everything can go wrong and not as was planned.
    For example, fast food chain McDonalds is far from the only company to tap into the use of hashtags to try and engage the social media audience with its brand. In a January 2012 campaign, the firm used the hashtag #McDStories in an attempt to promote farmer stories that reflected positively on the brand. However, the farmer-based video content fell by the wayside as Twitter users seized control, and began hijacking the hashtag to criticise the company’s food quality, service problems and horror stories.
    Social Media is a dangerous path to follow, it is hard to predict, not possible to control and it is hard to change the results.

  7. jeremyterrier says:

    As you said social media should not be underestimated but companies has to know how to use it and control it. I remember a case of crisis management which DisneyLand Paris has to face. One time a accident appears in the park, and in less than 1 hour there was thousand of twits and photos of the accident. That lead to create a sort of fear into the park and Disney was under pressure to restore the situation. Because they know how to deal with of social media they manage to react very fast in the same day, and to treat the problem to re-establish the calm in the place.
    This an example of how social media can also be dangerous for company. Indeed, your post was very interesting and explained well how social media are advantageous for organization

  8. kallemuuramo says:

    This is a really interesting topic which is definitely true. I remember when FedEx had a huge problem because someone posted a video of an employee throwing packages into their delivery truck and it went viral and FedEx had problems and they lost customers. Companies nowadays have to be careful what they do because social media is everywhere.

  9. stanislavkuzmin says:

    Amazing post and I think that everybody should read it. Socia Media is also known as the main driver of Marketing 2.0. It is impossible to predict the behaviour of consumer and the trends. Even one bad review about the company that will get “100 likes” can have a very significant impact on the company image. And also the opposite. Companies must stay in touch with their customers and be opened for the communication.
    The path of social media marketing is risky, but also very rewarding. It can boost the company vision as well as destroy it

  10. rabina2015 says:

    Topic is so relevant today. There are numerous of examples of SoMe actions went horribly wrong. I think companies need sort of PR representative to help them out how to communicate in Social Media nowdays and in the future.

  11. [G.] says:

    Nice work! The blog reflect exactly what the status of social media right now. I would say it is the King of speed. The number of shares of an interesting posts or likes of a being-famous celebrity, etc. could be very real proof. Using social media to branding is like to use a double-edged sword: if it successes, the brand gains customer’s trust; otherwise, it is totally forgotten or even criticized.

    VTV is referred as the international channel in Vietnam. In early 2015, it published a video clip to celebrate the Vietnamese Teachers’ Day. The video triggered arguments and was criticized that it should not have been shown on TV since it went again Vietnamese culture and humanity. At that time, the video right away was shared with crazy speed and was the hottest topic on every news and online forums. VTV was criticized and received administrative penalties. It is clearly seen that this national brand as the international TV channels somehow loosed trusts from audiences.

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