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The value of silence

In the first few months of 2016 we’ve heard of the passing of a number of high-profile celebrities such as David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Terry Wogan.

As expected, the loss of these much-loved personalities has been widely discussed and covered in all national and regional newspapers, on TV and on the radio. The death of David Bowie in particular sent shockwaves through the nation and many turned to social media to pay their respects.

As well as individual users, a number of high-profile brands took to social platforms to acknowledge the announcement and pay tribute. Many chose to do this in an understated way, sharing a photo of David Bowie with a well-known quote and a simple message.

However, others were condemned for capitalising on the singer’s death. For example, shoe manufacturer Crocs was forced to delete its tweet less than an hour after it was posted following angry comments from social media users. The tweet in question included a photo of a Crocs shoe with a zig-zag emblazoned across it and the comment ‘Your magic will be missed, but your inspiration lives on forever. #DavidBowie’. People commented that the tweet was monopolising on the grief of millions and mocked Crocs for trying to make a tenuous link between David Bowie’s iconic work and its shoes.

This is not the first time that a brand has received negative press for hijacking a news story or trending topic and it is unlikely to be the last. Brands often feel that they always have to contribute to the conversation to show that they are ‘keeping up with trends’. Social media posts can lose their sense of humility and the teams behind them are often exposed as crafting tweets simply to ensure key messages are seen by the biggest possible audience rather than aligning with their values.

Whereas this strategy often works well and has produced great results, the failings of companies such as Crocs show us that consumers also value honesty and relevance on social media. This is where social media monitoring and analysis can prove invaluable. Through tapping in to online conversations, brands can develop their identity and voice, learn from competitors and listen to their target audiences so they can implement a social media strategy that won’t ultimately lead to their downfall.

As part of our media intelligence services we work with clients to identify what their customers value most about them and provide value-added strategies which help them to maintain a positive reputation in their industry.

To speak to one of our team, please contact us