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Forbes – Good Buzz, Bad Buzz Brand Management: A Social Media Strategy That Pays Off


By Panos Mourdoukoutas

November 11, 2013

BuzzAs is the case with many other issues in social media, there is good buzz and bad buzz for almost every brand.

For some brands, the gap between good buzz — spread by product lovers — and bad buzz –spread by product haters (“brand polarization”) — is very large.

For others it is very small (e.g., McDonald’s vis-à-vis Amazon).

Company Brand Lovers (%) Brand Haters (%)
McDonald’s 33 29
Starbucks 30 23
Microsoft 47 9
Amazon 56 3

Source: Harvard Business Review

Brand polarization isn’t necessarily bad. One of the characteristics of bad buzz, for instance, is that it spreads faster than good buzz, as angry customers are more anxious to share their experience with other customers.

At the same time, it stimulates controversy between product lovers and product haters that accelerates good buzz—product-lovers rush to defend the brand. Anyone, for instance, who has written a critical article about Apple AAPL +1.57% in this site understands the point. At least I do, though I love Apple products.

This means that bad buzz can help accelerate good buzz, if managed right.

“Some companies succeed by intentionally antagonizing brand detractors,” write Xueming Luo, Michael Wiles, and Sascha Raithel in the Harvard Business Review. “This can create buzz and reinforce the brand’s connection with its most enthusiastic consumers, because people often feel compelled to defend a favorite product that has come under attack.”

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