Power to Bounce Back

“There is no such thing as bad publicity.”

People could sit around a table for hours debating whether this is true or not. It depends on who you are, what industry you’re in, what consumer you are trying to represent well for. So we aren’t going to investigate the validity to that statement, but what I do want to explore is the tactic of bouncing back from bad publicity. I specifically want to dive into discovering how crucial a strong social media strategy can be when facing times of distrust and dislike from consumers and reputation rebuilding in your industry.

As we have talked about before, one of the most powerful aspects of social media is it’s power of reach and diffusion. When your company or brand faces a reputation crisis through bad publicity, reaching as many consumers to correct the wrong is a strong tool to have in your toolbox. It is one thing to get the reach, but once you reach them, you have to know what to say. That’s when another attribute of social media comes in handy for disaster clean ups. Social media gives a company a more upfront and real-time access to their consumers, which in turn provides efficient engagement. This engagement is what can start bring your company back into you’re target market’s good graces. You have a unique chance, through social media, to correct the wrong done to your brand’s name by interacting with the consumers that could be spreading the negativity in the first place. This not only puts your loyal consumers back on the map but also gives you an unpaid army to go spread the truth. 
One company that has been successfully taking advantage of this social media ability is SeaWorld. When the documentary “Blackfish” came out, bashing SeaWorld for the mistreatment of it’s animals and the poor decisions of it’s management, they faced a huge amount of negative publicity. They endured backlash for over 12 long months from animal rights activists, boycotts from tourists, cancelled appearances from endorsers and sponsors, and the spreading of rumors from what once used to be their consumer base. As bad as “Blackfish” made SeaWorld look, SeaWorld had their own side to the story, and they intended to share it. And one way they intended to do so was through social media. They took advantage of the engagement ability social media offers and reached out to individual consumers that spoke of concerns regarding the documentary and directed them to where they could find correct answers.

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Something else they did wonderfully was while playing clean up crew for their bad publicity, they also made sure they kept their original social media strategy strong by interacting with the consumers positively as well, reposting their happy comments or pictures and thanking them for coming to their park as well as wishing them safe travels home. Along with a boat load of other PR stunts and outside work, social media helped SeaWorld take control of their situation and resulted in the park having little “Blackfish Effect”, with three months of all time high attendance from consumers in 2013. The CEO made a statement regarding how there is no major impact left to be seen from the negative effects Blackfish had on SeaWorld Parks.

Had they not set forth a strategic plan to come back from these attacks on their brand, SeaWorld would be in a much different place today. A lot goes in to keeping your brand in a good light, but when crisis strikes that is out of your control, I’d argue almost nothing offers the ability of impact to change the consumer’s minds and perceptions like social media. So whether your brand is currently suffering or you would be able to sleep better at night knowing you had a plan ready should something try to negatively effect your reputation, a strong social media strategy is always a smart weapon to combat the outside world.



Peeking Around the Corner

What is your favorite show? Think about it, I know you have one. Are you slightly obsessed with it? And if you are, you try to learn as much about it as you can, it interests you that much. Am I right?

I guarantee you that if you took a strong fan of a show and scrolled through their twitter, you’d find they are following the real life actors of that show, perhaps even the producer, writer, and director. And if you are not a TV watcher, think of your favorite brand. Do you follow the president, CEO, founder, or even anyone who publically supports the brand? I bet you are.

No, you’re not a stalker, you’re not creepy. You’re normal. It is our human nature to want to be as connected to our interests as we can be. And therefore, being connected to those that influence that interest in a prominent way.

Which is what leads me to today’s topic: focusing on the personal to make the broader brand succeed in the digital world.

The content and engagement that a brand shares with the digital world over their multitude of platforms is the main focus of most social media or digital marketing conversations, as it should be. But I want to take a minute to step back from that, look around the corner of the brand’s digital marketing plan to the individuals that are running the brand and influencing the brand on a day to day basis (i.e. the writer of a show, the CEO of a company, or company representative). I want to discuss how the personal social platforms of these types of individuals are important in building and continuing the brand’s awareness and interest in the digital world.

When a consumer has exhausted the company Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram, they are going to move on to these individual’s private Facebook, Twitter, and Instagrams. And for the company’s sake, these personal platforms need to be just as engaging and interesting as the company’s platforms. This will keep a positive perception of the brand in the minds of consumers when the brand’s platforms aren’t even coming into play.

Personal example, I follow the writer and the producer of a show that I am highly interested in. That show is a theoretically a brand in itself and has it’s own digital platforms. But when nothing new comes on those platforms as I’m scrolling through twitter, I then go to the producer and writer’s twitter and take a look at what they are up to. Over the months, I have formed an attachment with them and their social media content and therefore have unofficially joined a fan base of these individuals. Being a fan of these people automatically makes me feel loyal towards their work, a.k.a. the show.  So not even seeing the platforms of the show itself but instead the platforms of those connected to the show behind the scenes keeps the brand of the show and network relevant and positive in my head.


So, what the heck am I suggesting? As a consumer, I am suggesting to take a look into your key influencers of the company and check into their personal digital platforms. Are they relevant, engaging, and content filled? If not, I suggest a platform workshop for your executive team. You can believe they are being watched by your consumers. I understand the fears of many inlcude saying the wrong thing or looking like a fool, but they need to put that behind them. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. In other words, you loose 100% of the consumers that your don’t engage. More and more brands are starting to understand the importance of having key individuals represented on social media and engaging with consumers, I’m trying to reach those that have not yet caught on. These key people having a strong digital presence provide great opportunities for the brand off the scenes. Acting as postivite representatives of the brand, offering consumers a more interesting and personal connection with  behind-the-scenes type feel will only increase brand loyalty and advocacy in the long run- which is every brands dream.


Millennial Generation to the Rescue

The point that I hope to get across to you is not be afraid to get your hands dirty, ruffle some feathers, and make the changes that you’re too afraid to make when it comes to implementing social media marketing. But to get there, I first need to touch on the millennial generation.

The millennial generation has been the focus of unfair and condescending remarks, predictions, and assumptions. I’m not about to get into detail in regards to those, but I would like to point out that those comments would be withheld and kept in your head if you truly understand where the future is heading. So, all this talk about not trusting the millennial generation. Matt Boor does a fabulous job depicting this feeling of not trusting in a comical piece featured on CNN.


As I said, I’m not here to hash out your thoughts about the millennial generation and how awful and lazy you may think they are. What I am going to point out, however, are the small little icons to the right of the boy in the comic. Yep, you see them. The Facebook, Instagram and Twitter icons. I want you to take a closer look at that comic. If your attention is drawn to the trophies and the tattoos and the word bubbles- then having fun watching your business crumble. But if you look at that comic and you focus on those little pictorial icons, then you are likely to see great business success in your future, because that means you notice the untapped potential of the millennial generation. Where one person sees this generation “always with the phone” as a lazy, uncaring and negative characteristic, a true marketing genius sees this as the opportunity to get a foothold in the marketing revolution that is already taking place.

And to those- congratulations. I applaud you for understanding our modern world and seeing technology, social media, and the experts at social media platforms (a.k.a the millennial generation) as an advantageous tool to be used in order to reach new levels of success. You can stop reading now. But as for the rest of you that don’t see that quite as clearly- the rest of todays writing is directed towards you.

The future of marketing is digital. It is on social media. It can be accessed at any time, in a plethora of ways and styles, on a magnitude of platforms and reaches. I had the wonderful opportunity of getting to hear from and speak with CNN’s VP of digital communications and he held a great discussion about the hardships of transferring your traditional roles and tasks into a social media marketing strategy.

He described his journey at CNN when they hadn’t yet had a digital marketing strategy and he, along with some others, had the opportunity to implement a digital marketing strategy for CNN. He mentioned how in doing so, a lot of people’s daily responsibilities and roles got shifted and changed. How different divisions of CNN were inexplicably in charge of certain social media platforms and one of their tasks was to bring all those platforms together and have them all controlled by one team for consistent and efficient utilization. By doing this, it caused a lot of anger and upset that these aspects of the job were being taken away from people, since they’d come to have an ownership effect over what they did everyday. But they had to realized that bringing all those platforms together and giving them up to a devoted team was for the greater good of the company and was a necessity if CNN ever wanted to successfully tap into the potential that is held within social media and digital marketing.

So my message to those that haven’t taken the plunge that CNN did long ago, is: it is time. Social media and digital marketing is not only the future, it is the now. And you can’t be concerned with the upset and ruffled feathers that will be messed up along the way of getting a digital marketing plan set and into action. It is okay to ruffle feathers. It is for the betterment of your company and those that don’t understand that shouldn’t be poising your company anyway. And most importantly, don’t be lazy! Here, it is the millennia’s turn to call YOU lazy. Most businesses that do not have a digital marketing footprint have not done so because of 1) lack of experience/knowledge and 2) anticipate too much rift and don’t want to deal with it. A.K.A, are lazy. They anticipate these ruffled feathers and therefore don’t feel like changing their traditional ways and taking the step necessary to implement a digital marketing strategy.

And to make this point come full circle, those lazy, world-destructing millennial that you all love to hate so much- might be your only saving grace to this successful marketing future. They could be your answer to that number one reason above, because of lack of experience/knowledge. The millennia’s are the guys that know these platforms and techniques of social media inside out. They were born and raised with it. So, like I said, it’s time to tap into their potential and use them for the skills that now come as second nature to them. Don’t hate them, join them. How amazing this potential opportunity is- two generations that despise each other, brought together by social media and digital marketing. Marketing’s very own Disney movie fairytale story- too bad I already titled another piece “Piece of the fairytale.”