Social. Media. Firestorm.
Three words, when assembled, that strike fear in the hearts of those who manage brands. And rightfully so. With all the negative attention, what marketer would actively choose to embrace that type of heat? No thanks! Conventional wisdom on how to deal with a social media firestorm suggests that managers should react fast, reply respectfully, and try to resolve the underlying issues in an attempt to extinguish the flames as fast as possible.
Appeasing brand critics looks like a safe thing to do. However, how many great brands have been built by always playing it safe?
We believe that appeasing brand critics as a one-size-fits-all firestorms solution is short-sighted. Our research shows that in today’s polarized and hyper-connected society, some social media firestorms actually provide opportunities to create brand value! To leverage these opportunities, marketers need to embrace the firestorm, fan its flames, and fight back.