Ninety percent of an iceberg is beneath the surface of the water. Similar analogy can be made for users of social networks. One individual may be seen and yet ninety percent of an individuals influence is below the “virtual surface”. If one individual “has” a bad experience with a brand the impact of sharing that experience with “communities” creates a rippling effect” below the surface.
Ripples can build steam and momentum depending on how many others join into the conversational swarm and add to the initial impact of a conversation. The conversational waves only get worse when a brand simply decides not to engage or respond to peoples issues.
Case in point: Vincent Wright, a long time supporter of Linkedin and whom managed the flow of communications reaching over 100,000 people through dozens of forums and groups centric to Linkedin abandoned Linkedin this week. Abanoned meaning he deleted his profile on linkedin and all the groups he had formed on Linkedin. Subsequently he made the announcement through all the forums he manages and the groups on Linkedin. Fours years of effort centric to Linkedin stopped at the click of a mouse and ten of thousands of individuals were informed and with an explanation as to why. The fundamental reason for his actions were relative to:
- Linkedin not responding to Mr. Wrights own efforts of four years to provide them with a forum for user feedback
- Linkedin making policy decisions and changing the rules of their network without consideration or feedback from the users.
- Fundamentally Linkedin actions or lack of actions implied that the user, the collection of users and their subsequent feedback was not of strategic importance.
The outcomes of Mr. Wrights decisions are yet to be known but likely to be felt for some time as the word spreads one to one to a million or more.
Lessons For Brands
Beware of ignoring your customer. The Titanic failed to see the tip of the iceberg as it forged ahead on its proclaimed historic voyage. The captain and the first class passengers were all giddy with excitement about the ship and their status as the “first passengers“. The ship builders were counting their money before the ship reached its destination. Then their world changed because the captain of the ship failed to see the approaching iceberg even though he knew the waters were filled with them. The iceberg sank the ship.
If your a brand and not good at responding to customers or if your marketing efforts are filled with false promises you may hit an iceberg. It may not sink you but it can cause you significant damages.
What say you?