Brands Shouldn’t Fear the Negative

By Mark Evans - Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 at 7:30 am  

One of the things that terrifies some brands about social media is the negative comments, reviews and reactions that happen for the entire world to see.

The negative is a reality of social media but, at the same time, a different beast from the traditional marketing world in which brands could control the messages and conversations.

The bottom line is the negative shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing. In fact, the negative should be embraced by brands that are serious about creating vibrant, active and engaged communities.

To believe or want only the positive to exist is a sign a brand is ignoring the realities of the marketplace. After all, not every consumer is going to love your products or have a great experience with your brand every time.

So rather than fear the negative, how should brands handle negative comments, reviews, etc.?

The best approach is to turn the negative into the positive. By using negative comments as an opportunity to learn, improve or change, brands can actually turn them to their advantage.

Take SAP, for example. In a recent interview with eMarketer, chief marketing officer Jonathan Becher said the company’s critics play a key role in raising awareness of “what works and work doesn’t”.

This is a constructive and pragmatic approach because it means SAP is listening, reacting and shifting gear based on real-world feedback.

It’s an important lesson for any brand that really wants to leverage social media, other than simply broadcasting product updates and corporate news.

By seeing the negative as a force for good, brands can get more value out of social media and, at the same time, make it clear to consumers that what they think – negative or positive – is seen as valuable insight and information.

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