It’s hard to imagine a global brand implementing an advertising and social media campaign without considering all angles. They have focus groups. They have consumer data. They test and validate…and then retest. They have highly paid marketing professionals and even higher-paid legal counsel. So when Coke runs its #AmericaTheBeautiful ad during Super Bowl XLVIII – regardless of what you think of the campaign – don’t call it “ill planned” or think that Coke’s marketing team didn’t assume what would happen on social networks.
If you scroll through Coca-Cola’s Twitter feed during the Super Bowl, it’s clear they had no interest in responding to anyone who complained about the ad (there were a lot, and many claiming they’d never drink Coke again). It’s also clear that Coke’s approach was to respond to anyone who did provide positive comments about the campaign – but again, to ignore the negative, no matter how bad it might be.
Any political arguments about Coke’s campaign aside, if a company or organization is planning to distribute content that might even hint at being divisive, planning for the fallout is a must. Knowing what the brand will respond to and what it will ignore (and having buy-in from executives), how it interacts with supporters or folks who disagree, and working to always default to positive rather than responding with negativity is not only important, it’s vital.
Jim Licko is a Senior Director of Social Media and Digital Strategy at GFM and while he really dislikes conflict, he is a proponent of quickly developing thick skin in the world of social media.