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It was bad, but did it hurt the company's reputation?
It was bad, but did it hurt the company’s reputation?

As we head into two weeks of Super Bowl coverage, we’ll see more and more about “what brands will be tweeting” from the publications that cover the marketing and communications industry. The articles brought up a concept that I first came across at a South by Southwest session back in 2011: Do even the worst social media flub ups cause real repetitional  damage for a brand?

When brands hand over their voice to community managers – particularly during a high profile event like the Super Bowl – there are all kinds of things that can go wrong. But much like the question, “How many Oreos did they actually sell as a result of their 2013 ‘You Can Still Dunk in the Dark’ Super Bowl tweet,” how much reputational damage can be quantified by tweets gone awry?

No doubt there are varying levels of inappropriate, insensitive or just plain stupid tweets from brands. Some can be easily blamed on the community manager accidentally using the brands’ account to post personal opinion, but others make you question the brands’ integrity and how much value they place on a chance to capitalize on the moment versus having respect for the situation. And still others spiral out of control because of the brands’ lack of crisis management.

For individuals, the impact of a tweet can be long-lasting, but in today’s 140-character-on-to-the-next-thing world, do these idiotic tweets leave brands with any lasting negative impact? Discuss…

~ Jim Licko

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