A lot of time, thought and resources are dedicated to crafting brand stories and messaging that we use to communicate to our audiences. In today’s landscape of social networking, blogs and Tweets the story we worked so hard to tell can be derailed by a story the public can generate on their own. The recent Domino’s Pizza PR nightmare is an example of how a brand can be unintentionally damaged by stories generated by the public.
In another example of brand story hijacking, United Airlines suffered a long-running PR spin cycle when the airline damaged the equipment of a band flying to a gig. When the band members didn’t receive the customer service they had hoped for they posted their story on the band site, then made a song and posted it to YouTube and 3 million views later United had a problem on its hand.
Pete Blackshaw, Nielsen Online’s EVP of Digital Strategic Services and author of the book “Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000” (Doubleday), thinks that PR firms need to understand the causes and drivers behind buzz and conversation about customer service. He goes on to say “I worry that PR firms are looking for that ‘viral hit’ when they should be trying to figure out how to REALLY fix the issue that consistently drives the most negative buzz for brands: service.”