Blossoming social-media “call-out culture” increasing brand accountability

by | Aug 29, 2017 | Public Relations

In the age of social media, brands live in glass houses. Never before have brands been held so accountable by consumers for their actions—or inaction. But how often do consumers take advantage of this democratized influence, and how much does it truly impact the rest of the population’s brand perceptions?

social media management provider Sprout Social explores this “culture of call out” in its newly released Q3 2017 Index. The report, Call-Out Culture: People, Brands and the Social Media Power Struggle, surveyed more than 1,000 consumers to unveil the prevalence of this culture for the everyday consumer, how it impacts their purchasing decisions and what brands can do to turn it around.

Blossoming social-media “call-out culture” increasing brand accountability

The research found that people feel empowered by social media to take a stand in the face of injustice—just 8 percent of people would stay silent if they saw inappropriate behavior from a brand.

Blossoming social-media “call-out culture” increasing brand accountability

Other key findings reveal:

Millennials are leading the call-out culture

They are 43 percent more likely to call out a brand on social media than other generations.

Blossoming social-media “call-out culture” increasing brand accountability

Consumers are especially motivated to call out brands when they lie

Sixty percent of consumers say dishonesty causes them to call out brands on social.

A single call out has a domino effect, but consumers won’t make blanket assumptions

Sixty-five percent of people will think twice about buying from a brand after they see someone else call out the brand on social, but they also want to do their own research first.

A poor response is worse than no response

Nearly 50 percent of people say they’d never buy from a brand again after that brand responds poorly to their complaint, compared to 35 percent of those who don’t get a response.

A helpful response can win customers back

Forty-five percent of consumers would go back to social media to highlight the positive interaction if a brand responds well to a call out.

“Call-out culture has brought to the forefront the shifting power dynamic between brands and consumers,” said Scott Brandt, CMO of Sprout Social, in a news release. “When people can share bad experiences within seconds on social, they have increasing influence to shape the media cycle and stories about brands’ behaviors.

“And while the wrong response can haunt a brand forever, the right response empowers brands to take control of the story in front of a uniquely attuned audience,” he added. “Ultimately, brands that take responsibility, respond quickly and authentically, and apologize when necessary will come out on top.”

Read the full report here.

The consumer survey was conducted by Survata, an independent research firm in San Francisco. Survata interviewed 1,003 online respondents between July 10, 2017 and July 14, 2017.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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