Consumer ControlPosted by Dustin Britt on December 30, 2011 Share
One opinion, on one stance, led to one post, and later led to a viral revolt against the brand.
It used to be wise to ride out the storm – give things a chance to see if the steam would let out of them on their own accord. No more. It took only days for the post to result in such a high level of consumer activism.
Howard Schultz tells a similar story in a 2010 interview with HBR:
Bloggers were putting holes in the equity of the brand, and it was affecting consumer confidence, our people, everything. I woke up one day and went to my desk, and I had 75 to 100 e-mails and phone calls about an issue I had never heard of. There was a sensational story in the Sun, in London, that Starbucks was wasting water through something called the “dipper well.” My phone rang, and it was a reporter asking me to comment on the dipper well. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I said. The reporter said, “Mr. Schultz, I suggest you Google Starbucks real fast.” The Sun claimed that we were pouring “millions of litres of precious water down the drain” as a result of the method we used to sanitize equipment. The report was wildly exaggerated, and we had been working for several years to find a better solution, but we suddenly became the target of conservation groups. We had a real problem. The lesson was that the world had changed. Something that had happened in London had created a worldwide story that positioned Starbucks with venom and disrespect.
Brands are formed in the minds of consumers – and there the power remains.
A great example of how little control a brand has, but how important it is to influence brand perceptions with speed, authenticity, and passion.
*Cited from HBR's Lessons from the GoDaddy Customer Revolt