Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More on the Sun Chips, Gap Logo Backlash

There is more news regarding both the Sun Chips and Gap logo controversies that I blogged about last week. As you may recall, Sun Chips pulled most of its biodegradable bags off the market because of complaints, many via social media, about how loud the bags were. Similarly, Gap faced a major backlash via social media in recent weeks. They had launched a new logo, which was criticized widely on many social media platforms. Gap responded by saying that they would use crowdsourcing to see if consumers had better logo ideas.

Now, Sun Chips has faced a counter-reaction via social media. Many people are now coming forward to criticize the company's decision to pull the biodegradable bags from the market. As you can imagine, many of these people think that the environmental benefit should outweigh concerns about noise. Similarly, Gap faced a counter-reaction about the use of crowdsourcing to design a better logo. The firm now has abandoned the crowdsourcing idea.

What do these two stories illustrate? Perhaps most importantly, they tell me that firms have to be careful about how quickly they react to commentary via social media platforms. They have to consider the response bias question: Are the folks who are commenting actually representative of typical customers? Moreover, firms have to consider the new and varied reactions that will emerge from any decision made in response to an initial batch of feedback from social media users. What will the chain of events be that might be unleashed by a reaction to social media feedback?


David said...

I think the other issue is that companies need to engage in social media conversation early...before there is an issue. That way an attempt to explain themselves via social media will not be criticized.

moylan7 said...

Remember all the jokes about the iPad? Apple didn't overreact to social media's initial response, they instead allowed the product to reshape the way the word was perceived.