Travis Kalanick resigned as CEO of Uber back in June, 2017, and for many the announcement was not unpredictable. Following each piece of news on Uber’s sexist and discriminatory work culture was an immediate reaction on social media calling for the public to delete and boycott the service. Eventually the negative branding gained momentum and carried more influence with Uber’s board than its CEO.
As explained in the New York Times article, Farhad Manjoo, describes that there is an emerging tendency for the public to exercise its social and political power through online activism. It appears that our social media posts are treated as reasonable commentaries on how a company conducts its business. How effective those social media campaigns are, ultimately depends on how the brand values consumer opinions, and to what extent the public can influence the company’s ethics.
So far this year there have been several massive online events that cannot be ignored, besides Uber, there have been campaigns against corporations such as Pepsi, United Airlines, and the Trump brand. Online campaigns have put pressure on these organizations, either directly from the people sharing their opinions on social media, or indirectly from other partners or stakeholders who take these opinions seriously. This has allowed consumers to be more active in evaluating how corporations behave, holding them accountable for the values they communicate to the public.
Ultimately, this dialectic between corporations and consumers will have positive results so long as corporations or brands are made aware of the evolving values of the public have the opportunity to adjust and adapt. The problem however, is in gaining awareness into public sentiment before the conversation turns into an outright protest or boycott. As observed in the examples from this year alone, by the time the topic is trending it is often already calling for a crises communication response.
The ability to identify the concerns of the public and adapt to them are critical to a brands success in social relations. Businesses need to establish the importance of data-driven decisions. At any level in an organization, employees should be have the skills and be enabled to access data, recognize differences in trends, have the ability to explain those changes, and to use those insights to make reasoned decisions.
In this LinkedIn article, Olivia Barrow explores the idea that if you don’t measure something then you can’t improve it, or if you want to improve something then you must measure it. Therefore, we can tell a lot about an individual’s, or a company’s priorities based on what they decide to measure as well as what they neglect, ignore, or refuse to measure because it reveals what exactly they are working to improve.
For Orenda, measuring public sentiment is a must. Part of our mission is to connect brands with the people who interact with them and share their opinions on social media channels. The goal is simple, to do better you must know better, and we figure taking the word from the largest living focus group is the most effective way to gauge how your brand is being perceived at any given moment. We’ve developed analysis tools that can distinguish and categorize social data into different aspects of reputation management and to what degree they change in day-to-day metrics. When it comes to measuring how trustworthy a brand is, we don’t want our clients to guess or to make assumptions, we look for and consider all truths because that’s the area we want to improve.