When Brands Get Punk’d: Social Media Remediation

Do you know any brands that are hated or are getting social media wrong? They may need “Social Media Remediation”

I had drinks with Paul and Brooke from, Cohn and Wolfe a digital PR agency that told me they focus on clients that have some brand challenges, that’s putting it nicely, he wants to help the brands that have been punk’d.

They expressed to me something pretty interesting: when brands get social media wrong and mess it up, they often need experts to help correct the situation. If you’ve seen Pulp Fiction, you’ll remember the character “Mr Fox”The Wolf” (thanks Darshan) who was the clean up expert driving the flashy sports car. I don’t know what kind of car that Paul and Brooke drive but they shared some of the brands they are helping, and they are certainly brands under fire, one case study they told me about was one of their premiere clients, Dell. I briefly spoke with Lionel at Dell, who told me they’ve been with them since the “Hell” fire.

Paul, who has a link blog Social Media Remediation is the act of helping client who has stepped in the stink and is either in the punk’d list or could be. He gave a few common examples of brands doing it wrong:

Common problems that need social media remediation

1) Companies with branded communities are stuck with a large implementation but customers are not coming nor staying. Some brands turn on the advertising engines to get customers to come, they see an empty party and don’t return. Often the issue is around having the wrong content (or none at all) or not reaching to key influencers.

2) Companies with too many blogs, he cites HP that have no central strategy moan that they don’t get traction. Our research indicates this is true as most consumers don’t trust corporate blogs.

3) Companies that say they are listening but really aren’t. He cites that some brands get a monthly or quartlery report from a listening platform, but don’t dive into the deeper conversation or real time discussion.

4) Social Network Marketing fails. Some brands work with an design or interactive agency who launches a campaign on Facebook or MySpace but the brand doesn’t put any long term resources behind it to be part of the community. This also aligns with my research as I found out that 15 out of 16 brands failed their social network marketing test.

So what does Paul and Brooke do? they help to analyze the problems, diagnose, and help the client get back on track, I suspect that often it’s a long cultural change that has to occur internally, so they’ve a lot of education, hand holding, and patience to give clients.

On a related note, I had drinks with a social media practitioner at a large brand, and said that PR folks often swoop in to over condolences during crises then use it to pitch their services.

Paul gave a few good examples of brands doing social media wrong (or at least at limp attempt) what are some of the biggest challenges that you see that need social remediation?