Coping with Negative Brand Perception on Social Media

Marie Louise Eriksen & Anna Elisabeth Goth Engel

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Abstract: Social media is becoming an increasingly important part of the consumers’ lives and the companies way of doing business. Social media engages the consumer so they are online all the time and the consumers use social media to express who they are and what they are doing. The consumers’ need for expressing themselves is becoming a problem for companies, as the consumers’ not only share content about themselves, but also feelings about how they perceive brands. This is big challenge if the consumers hold a negative brand perception. Social media is part of bigger network society, which mean that negative content is shared within a split second. With this in mind, social media have provided the consumers with a speaking tube, which was not so prevalent prior with other media. The consumers can build on the companies stories and share both negative and positive brand perception whether someone is invited or not to take part in the conversation. The consumers set the stage and decide which content should be available regarding the companies. Hence it is becoming a huge challenge for companies to take control of the brand stories if some consumer perceives the brand in a negative manner. However, the companies use social media as dialogue tool and to some extend they encourage the consumers to speak up to begin with. Many companies have not thought of the consequences when being present on social media or do not know how to deal with negative brand perception on social media. The companies need to understand that consumers are willing to share everything on social media and thus also whenever they have had a bad experience with a brand. We discuss the companies’ struggle with negative brand perception and how they can learn and try to cope with it. For this purpose, we have looked at a case study regarding the biggest shitstorm in Denmark. An analysis of the case and an analysis of social media, the society and the consumers provide us with a framework, which consists of 10 findings, which companies can embrace and learn from. Social media, the network society and the consumer are three factors, which are at stake every time the sharing of negative brand perception is taken place. Four other Danish cases regarding consumers’ sharing of negative brand perception has further been used in the development of the 10 findings. It is cases where companies have been good and bad to handle negative brand perception on social media. The challenges is that companies feel they have to be present on social media, but often they are not prepared for negative brand perception and neither the consequences it can leads to.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2014
Number of pages132