Sasha Blaney|Sep 3, 2014

There’s no denying how much the Internet has changed the way brands and customers interact, but not all companies have embraced this notion. The online world can indeed be intimidating, and some companies are still afraid of social media.

However, the reality is that a 21st century Breakout Brand must go where its audience goes. According to a study conducted by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange, Americans spend more than three hours a day on social networks on average.

As such, joining these social networks does entail exposing your brand to the bad, yes, but also the good. And, more importantly, it’s up to brands to ensure they’re prepared for both.

Two recent news stories brought this idea into sharp focus. The first incident was when audio of a Comcast call, in which a representative refused to allow a customer to cancel his service, went viral. Comcast was prepared to respond quickly and took a two-pronged approach to address the confrontation. First, they issued a public apology that was posted on Comcast’s corporate website, and second they directly addressed the disgruntled customer on Twitter with an apology that included a link back to the corporate site’s statement.

The Comcast case is an example of what can happen when situations go awry, but having your brand accessible through multiple platforms can also serve for positive experiences as well. Take the Frontier Airline’s pilot who ordered 35 pizzas to feed 160 hungry passengers after a flight was delayed two hours. The ecstatic passengers posted photos and videos of the incident, immediately calling attention to both the airline and Domino’s for going above and beyond. Dominos and Frontier Airline leveraged the opportunity on Twitter to support each other and their mission of putting the customer first.

These two cases showcase the importance of preparation in the event of a good or bad situation, which comes with the territory of taking your brand or company online. For those still hesitant, consider that, according to a study conducted by the Internet Advertising Bureau, 90 percent of consumers would recommend a brand to a friend after interacting with them on social media.

In other words, there exist opportunities to publicly show how you handle tough situations, as well as hero the positive stories about your brand. Yes, it’s risky, but it’s worthwhile and necessary.

How have you or your brand handled the wave of good and bad in online situations? Let us know in the comments!


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