With the evolution of social media, large companies were forced to adopt a new framework of consumer engagement where  the flow of information isn’t always “top-down.” In fact, most often it’s “bottom-up.” So when companies open the gateways for this two-way flow of dialogue, it’s important that they:

  • Validate consumers’ opinions (i.e. allowing for a public criticism via social media channels)
  • Engage (after all, this is inherent to the social media DNA by virtue of being “social”)
Reviewing these two essential qualities, it is clear why consumers were less than happy with ChapStick’s rapid-fire attempt to delete critical comments on its Facebook page for including the below image of a woman looking for her ChapStick. (Photo courtesy of AdWeek).

While the photo isn’t crude per-say, it is understandable that consumers might be taken aback by Chapstick’s bold post of a woman’s behind. After all, the brand name alone has  become synonymous with an entire category of lip protectants and has this wholesome, nostalgic sentiment to it.

Where ChapStick goes wrong (but eventually apologies for) is its silencing of the community. Here’s why:

  • As a brand, you enter into a contract with the community – whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. By “liking” or “following” the brand, consumers have agreed to hear your marketing schtick so long as you offer them great deals, some laughs and fun contests along the way. By taking away their voice, the brand has effectively broken the contract and runs the risk of losing brand favor in the future. 
  •  The Internet is virtual cement. While ChapStick’s comment-deleting frenzy happened in less than a millisecond measured by Internet time, the event will forever be captured by the SEO gods, reincarnated in Google searches for years to come.
Were you one of the silenced consumers on ChapStick’s Facebook page? If so, how did this affect your brand loyalty, if at all?
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