Brands Shouldn’t Believe Everything They Read About Themselves Online

Harvard Business Review

By: Joe Panepinto

OCTOBER 17, 2018



We think social-sentiment analysis has value as a part of a brand’s consumer intelligence plan, but we have some advice for those using it or about to embark on the journey:

  1. React, but don’t over-react.The type of consumers moved to post and share statements about brands (or about anything, for that matter) are not necessarily representative of the entirety of your customer base. Social-media users tend to be younger and more female than overall online audiences, and emerging research into social behavior suggests that people who post on social media tend to hold more extreme positions — they tend to be motivated by strong feelings, either positive or negative.

recent study by Engagement Labs in the Journal of Advertising Research pointed out that online conversations about brands and offline conversations (as measured by their TalkTrack tracking study) were not strongly related.

In a recent interview, the lead investigator pointed out that online reaction to the Dick’s Sporting Goods decision to stop selling assault rifles and require all gun buyers to be 21 was met with a large degree of negative sentiment online but more positive sentiment offline.

More recently, Forbes did an in-depth analysis of the social reaction to Nike’s decision to feature Colin Kaepernick in an advertising campaign. It found a significant spike in negative sentiment online in the hours after the ad was first released. But, within two days, the sentiment shifted to positive.


Read the full Harvard Business Review article, here.

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