Opinions

Advise to Brands: You Need A Rapid Response Team

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By Pablo Tinashe Chimusoro

Yesterday I came across a picture circulating of what seemed to be a Bakers Inn advert. It featured the words “Une kaSoftaz kandoda..”
I was happy that at least the corporate world was now getting active and moving along with the trends.
Also another positive that had come to my mind was that at least a youth artist had gotten endorsement from a household brand, and this usually comes with some good financial benefits rewarding them for their creativity.
It would be a breath of fresh air as corporate Zimbabwe has been largely criticized for stealing lines from artists and making them part of their campaigns with the artist benefiting nothing, at least this time Bakers Inn would have made a difference.
The last line in the copy read, “Crust Vanoifarira kwandobva..” I chuckled, this was quite tacky.
I’m not sure if we had similar experiences, but the crust was usually a source of conflict among peers as we grew up.
Everyone wanted that thick crust for themselves, and missing on it was painful!
So I thought Bakers Inn would have tapped into that nostalgic experience we had, bringing us a smile as we recall these experiences, it would also be relatable with those who still like having the crust to themselves.
But there’s something that struck me at the back of my mind.
The quality of the picture was short of the usual quality that Bakers Inn usually delivers, there was something off about the picture.
The fonts, the text positioning, the logos (too small to recognize) all made me wonder.
So I checked on their social media handles, that post was not there.
A quick social media search showed a negative feedback from the market, people are against exploitation of artists, and the artist behind the creativity may not have known that this was happening.
So today, I saw one of the authentic sources of all things entertainment and arts information share that he had indeed verified the advert, and it was not in relation with the brand Bakers Inn.
It seems someone created it. I would give credit to the person who created that copy, he created talk, and this is something most brands don’t have.
Brands need a rapid response team.
The damage that could have happened because of the perception that Bakers Inn had used Holy Ten’s creativity for their marketing without any benefit to the artist could have created some negative connotations, and in some radical markets, this could lead to boycotts. Besides, no brand wants any negative perception at all, competitors would easily take advantage of such.
Brands need to have an active team which listens to conversations, measure their impact and quickly clear themselves when there is need.
There is an old guard which assumes that social media isn’t important, but social media can cause significant damage to goodwill.
Sometimes damage doesn’t happen instantly, but it’s in the small things that happen lots of times, which could end up destroying all that reputation which would have been built.
Let me ask; if someone can create such a copy, and the brand remains silent, what stops a competitor from creating a copy which says that “We have closed our plant, do not expect to have our bread on the shelves, in the meantime you can buy competitor products until we are back?”
And what guarantee is there that the brand will recognize it in time before damage has been caused?
Never should an hour pass with fake content with your brand tagged before you respond, because on social media an hour is too much time.
There hardly any time for verification on social media.
The nature of social media is that people easily trust whatever they see on the internet, there are few who can pause to verify or question authenticity. People will just like, share, screenshot and post around.
So you can’t bank on people doing the verification job, unless they are your loyal ambassadors.
Therefore make it an inside job to have people who listen to conversations and point at falsehoods as soon as they arise.
Also, reward you loyal supporters, make them a part of your brand strategy, they will speak for you when you aren’t around to speak for yourself.
One day, it will be too late to respond, the damage will already have been made, make sure that such a day doesn’t befall you.
There’s a lot that I picked from this incidence, and hopefully brands and SMEs listening can learn something.
I wish Holy Ten the best in his career, if you see parodies creating alternative content that matches you with brands and products, it’s a sign that you are a good fit for the corporate world, and your influence is of value.

Robert Tapfumaneyi

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