How Long Before Online Brand Suicide is A Thing of the Past?

I recently came across an interesting Ad Age article about “The Seven Stages of Committing a Social-Media Sin,” where Rupal Parekh discusses  in depth how social media can be used to a brands detriment.
The “seven stages” creates a cycle that shows “how consumers react to a brand,” which is generally the same – each cycle. However, Parekh claims that this “cycle is speeding up” and therein lies the change. Furthermore, “each time a brand experiences a social-media blunder, the event blows up and moves through the seven stages faster and faster before the whole thing vanishes in a puff of smoke.”

Parekh refers to examples such as Kenneth Cole’s tweets about political unrest in Egypt in order to talk about his new Spring line on Twitter.

However, nowadays Parekh claims that brands are now having an easier time returning to normalcy after these social media blunders because there are PR people who create parody social media accounts that help distract the public.

Read on to see how Ad Age used Kenneth Cole’s inappropriate tweet as a case study regarding the “life cycle” of social media:


Do you think that marketing and good PR can come to the rescue with what was once labeled as “brand suicide” – specifically by laughing and mocking the situation? If you read through the seven “social media sins,” you can see that Kenneth Cole’s PR team creates parody tweets regarding other political unrest/national & global issues/natural disasters. And, by the end of the day from KC’s original tweet, there was a spike in followers from 8,935 to 9,779. Parekh claims that this “cycle” of the seven stages will become shorter and shorter until…people don’t care anymore? What do you think? Perhaps this goes along with consumers being tougher and tougher to crack, and you have to prove that you’re worth their time.

I Heart You

I Heart You

Oh Saint Valentine, you slay me. A day dedicated to intimate companions expressing their adoration and companionship, what a thoughtful proposition! Sometimes camaraderie is just so cumbersome; V-day is necessary for jaded couples to remind each other, and their selves, of why they are meant to be together. This jovial date also creates a serendipitous bonus for singles: getting all of the couples out of the way so that other singles can be easily spotted…a personal independence day if you will.

With the way it is celebrated today, you would think Valentine’s Day was a brilliant big idea spawned into a societal norm by an advertising agency. I can see it so clearly, a conference room full of suits (perhaps for a jeweler), eyes wide, while the pony tailed t-shirter opines “Love is about commitment. It is about giving. It is about sacrifice! Sacrificing your heart, your soul, your paycheck. Because nothing says I love you, like a box of chocolates and a diamond.” Even if it wasn’t created by advertisers, it is often a favorite point to focus a campaign flight around.

Couldn’t make it to the store in time for a card, flowers, or jewelry? Well, you’re probably out of luck, and a bed tonight. But Google might help mollify the strife with its map your valentine initiative!  Google always knows what’s up, and is proving its expert prowess again with a poignant combination of location and sentiment. This same formula could be imitated for a powerful search engine marketing tactic, by combining geo-targeting, personalization, and location based ads with relevant messages that provoke meaningful memories or induce nostalgia. Think of how much more interested you would be in an ad that showed say, a bicycle, which was displayed with a picture of your favorite park. Or even better, your favorite park as a kid! Okay that is a little creepy, but creepiness is becoming a lot less significant and a lot more ubiquitous nowadays.

– Ken Hurta

Cars, Monkeys and Cheese…That’s What I saw during the Super Bowl.

Last night along with millions of others I watched the Superbowl (sort of), mainly the ads.  I was hoping for something exciting and interesting and quite frankly I didn’t get what I wanted – (except for – those little monkeys in the parking lot had me thinking of our parking situation here at Leverage Marketing).  Most of the ads to me were just meh, but weighed in on the Winners and the Losers of the SuperBowl.

Apparently Chrysler – (the ad with Eminem and not the cartoon Eminem) had the highest buzz.  I must say I thought it was interesting, but I still favor a different car commercial over any other car commercial lately.

All in all – I think that most of these companies should have saved their $$$ and done lots of branding online through image ads and other online branding efforts. I’m just not sure that a one time ad shown to an audience that was probably comprised of a bunch of buzzed people  was worth it.

What do you think?

Don’t Be Evil

Google’s famous informal slogan rings in my ear every time I see its vibrant logo. Monolith corporations the size of Google are far too often shrouded in iniquity and questionable ethical dealings. But Google started with the standard to be good. Good to its employees, good to its customers, good to its clients. Perhaps it is the technical industry which Google operates in that is good, or at least less bad, than the others we have grown accustomed to seeing on the news. When was the last time you saw a tech company committing violations of human rights or running its own nation’s economy into the ground with its jobbery?  Not Google, but is this cuddly search do-gooder really as exemplary as it seems?

Reputation management. Also called public relations or good publicity. Google is a guru at managing its own reputation. Even when it saw controversies in the past, most of them passed in and out of the echo-sphere rather quietly.

Google has created a model of reputation management that any success-seeking business should imitate. ORM is especially important for search engine marketing, as more than ever search engines are taking social trends into account when indexing sites. What people are saying about you matters, a lot. Just one bad review can have dire repercussions for your brand if you don’t do anything about it. Brands should be proactive, as opposed to preemptive, when managing online reputation.

Start your business with good practices as a standard, not just a mission, and it will all be easier. ‘Social’ is one of those buzz words that cannot be ignored and will not go away, thus making the coordination of social media and search campaigns extremely pertinent. Use this immense network of connectivity that we all take for granted to your advantage by reaching out to your customers, following up with them, directly providing personalized special features, and whatever else you can think of to engage your fans! Everyone is just waiting for the next cool or convenient thing that is worthy of sharing with friends. The more you are talked about online, the more crawlable information to be indexed and affect your rankings. But remember this goes both ways. So for your sake and everyone else’s, don’t be evil.

-Kenneth Hurta

LinkedIn is Going Public

$2 Billion BUCKS

That is how much LinkedIn will probably be valued at according to various media outlets.

I am a fan of LinkedIn, as I don’t get a lot of spam and I can decline lots of invites if I don’t know the person requesting my ‘friendship’.

  • 41% of its revenue presently comes from job-related products that help companies search for potential employees;
  • 32% comes from ad sales; and…
  • 27% comes from paid subscriptions.

It is interesting to note that LM uses LinkedIn for filling open positions and also for ads.  I am not a paid subscriber as I do not personally find that piece very compelling.  Apparently LinkedIn has plans to become the next Amazon or the next Google.  It is interesting that these plans do not include becoming the next Groupon or Facebook; names that many may find more familiar than LinkedIn.

Apparently LinkedIn made a profit in 2010, but is expected to have a loss in 2011.  I wonder how many of the professional users of the site, will put money into the company whenever we are able to buy in?  Will you?  Do you think that LinkedIn will stand out among Groupon, Facebook and Google?