The brand outrage bubble just won’t burst (and that’s a problem)


Social media has become the means for consumers to express their outrage for a brand or company.  Ranging from tiny mistakes to huge missteps, brands must deliberate whether or not to address each issue (The E. coli outbreak at Chipotle and the absence of cheese in McDonald’s mozzarella sticks are two examples on opposite ends of the spectrum) and determine the right course of action.

“Online fails” have been on the incline, not for an increase in frequency but for an increase in the attention placed onto them.  These occurrences deviate from the norm and are easier to identify, making them more noteworthy.  Given the sheer volume and expectation that companies must constantly deliver (more and at a faster rate), there are bound to be mistakes and consumers are ready to pounce online.

With social media, individuals are quickly and easily able to voice their opinions and feel as though they are making a difference.  In reality, the majority of the time they are trivial complaints that companies believe will be forgotten over time.  I believe that in most cases, individuals tend to over exaggerate “online fails” over social media as it gives them something to talk about, and like the article mentions provides a sense of empowerment.


  1. How do we classify something to be an online fail?
  2. When does it become necessary for a company to address an online fail? What is the best course of action for a company to take when addressing an online fail and on which social media platform would be the most effective to do so?

One thought on “The brand outrage bubble just won’t burst (and that’s a problem)

  1. I think before a company addresses a complaint on social media it needs to determine the severity of the mistake. In some cases, like threats to public safety, it should be obvious that a response is needed but I think many times it can be subjective. In the more trivial complaints if the company decides to speak out I think the response needs to align with the brand image because it is just another extension of the brand. However, I think with the amount of negativity surrounding #brandfails more times than not it’s better to just stay silent and let it blow over. There are so many complaints on social media that if a company is patient a new #brandfail will take its place shortly.

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