Second to None
Second to None
Second to None
Second to None

Are You Protecting Your Brand From Potentially Dangerous Viral Moments?

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Found in:    scout | Consumer Products or Services | Financial Services | Healthcare | Restaurants | Retail/Ecommerce

Every brand, across most industries, is trying to simultaneously capture and avoid viral moments on a daily basis. A positive viral moment can serve as one of the most powerful and cost-effective marketing tools. Ideally, these small instances captured by a cell phone camera help galvanize both current and potential patrons so that they get a clear picture of your brand message in a natural setting. However, fairly often these days, brands are stuck on the other end of the virality spectrum. From unclean environments to terrible examples of customer service, these moments can have a permanent and poisonous impact on the perception that consumers have of your organization. This fragile balance requires brands to acquire up-to-date knowledge about individual location performance and maintain compliance with industry and federal regulations. Thus, implementing measurement programs can help inspire more positive viral moments and mitigate the potential hazards of a scandalous individual interaction.

We’ve all seen examples of these negative viral moments when they are shared across every social media platform, discussed on local news, and even infiltrate the late-night talk show agenda. One illustrative example of the power of these viral videos occurred at Starbucks. Throughout its existence, Starbucks has built a brand perception of providing luxury coffee products and offering brand ubiquity across the country. However, ask any informed consumer and the first thing that comes to their mind about the brand this year will most likely include an unfortunate incident involving mistreatment of minority individuals. As a result of this scandal, Starbucks implemented racial sensitivity training across their different locations, shutting down 8,000 stores across the United States. This one instance, from one store, had an impact of several million dollars in lost revenue, but more importantly it has stained the way that consumers view the organization as a whole.

Another example of a negative moment invading the zeitgeist and greatly impacting the reputation of a national brand occurred in April 2018, on a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Kentucky. In this instance, a customer who refused to give up his seat after the airline overbooked his flight was violently removed from the aircraft. This prompted an onslaught of negative commentary directed towards the brand from social media users and major news publications. The CEO was forced to respond and own up to the incident in a public setting. This incident, along with a few other damaging events on United flights, has permanently altered the way the brand is viewed in the marketplace. Undoubtedly, these viral moments have had a negative impact on the organization’s bottom line in addition to staining their brand reputation and the average consumer’s willingness to choose Unitedfor their next trip.

The ubiquity of mobile devices in the United States population has given virtually every individual that interacts with your brand the power to change the direction of your organization. Consumers can now “go live,” and instantaneously share their experience with the entire world. Thus, there is more pressure than ever on your employees to stay true to the brand identity theorized by organizational leadership across every location under your brand umbrella. Having a measurement program in place is certainly not going to stop every incident like those Starbucks or United dealt with, but it does provide a line of defense for the brand in the initial proceedings after these events take place.

By consistently measuring and improving individual branch and overall organizational performance, your team can rightfully claim that it is actively working to prevent these incidents, rather than only responding to them. Implementing measurement programs like mystery shopping or compliance audits will not guarantee that events like these never happen. However, these programs will help ensure that employees are consistently maintaining your operational and service standards, and provide your team with the data to formulate an appropriate response if an incident of this nature does happen to occur.

Second To None empowers customer-centric brands to deliver consistent, intentional and authentic consumer experiences.

We adeptly design and manage mystery shopping, compliance, engagement and voice of customer solutions grounded in strategic relevance, program integrity and actionable insights. Our solutions are developed on the basis of solid research and statistical science. We achieve success through a relentless focus on quality and innovation, consultative relationships and a talented team of professional associates.