Can One Bad Tweet Taint Your Brand Forever?
Jack Neff / AdAge
Interpreting Data is Hardest Part
In fairness, online complaints about cracks on other smartphones, notably iPhones, are also numerous.
Unfounded complaints generally will die on their own if others don’t experience the same problems, Mr. Blackshaw said. Others subsequently having the same problem, however, will give the early complaints more velocity, so the earliest users still have an outsized influence on the conversation.
In the Digital World, a small group of people can be all it takes to create a PR nightmare.
With social-media tracking services proliferating, the problem often isn’t data, Mr. Blackshaw said, it’s how to interpret it. “The issue of flagging the blip on a radar is not as complicated as assigning a value to whether it might get worse,” he said. “This is where technology isn’t the solution, but you have to have smart people who can offer some judgment and say, ‘This is a consumer who has a lot of credibility. If you look at their track record they’ve consistently created waves whenever they speak. They’re teeing up the comment in a forum known for high levels of virality. This person shows up in search results all the time, which shows they consistently get a lot of link love so therefore higher exposure.’ You can automate some of this, but a lot is just good, old-fashioned judgment.”
He added, “I think the marketplace is finally starting to move” on getting consumer affairs closer to marketing, noting companies such as P&G that now have the consumer affairs unit as part of the broader marketing organization.