Social media can be a place of hatred and vile cruelty. It can also be a place of incredible positivity and support. It’s up to us to decide which we want to contribute to.
Last week, the Daily Harvest brand account on Twitter went to war with other food brands. In a dazzling display of resentment and animosity, Daily Harvest responded, without provocation, to harmless tweets by other brands such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Sour Patch Kids, and more. The responses were mean and completely uncalled for.
Their reasoning was that they were “calling out big food businesses” for being unhealthy, but was this really the best way to do it? Isn’t there a way to get that message across without malice and trolling?
Being controversial for the sake of attention
I understand that controversial and provocative stances attract a lot of attention, and perhaps that was Daily Harvest’s goal. I believe this is a short-sighted approach, however.
While you may drum up a big response, boost engagement, and create a kind of brand awareness, the team at Daily Harvest should have asked themselves, “what happens once the buzz dies down?”
What they’ve created is negative energy around their brand. It’s not cute, endearing, sassy energy, but malicious, mean energy. While people may remember it, they’ll remember it negatively.
There has already been a response to the tune of “I was considering buying Daily Harvest products, but after that, I am reconsidering.”
They have already turned people off of their brand and products, in favor of being edgy and controversial.
I believe that kindness, empathy, and positivity will always be better approaches to creating awareness and connecting with others. It makes people feel good. It creates loyalty to a brand or person.
Sure, there are plenty of examples of people who spew vile hatred and build large followings. But those are unstable groups because that same vitriol is easily aimed backwards, causing the group to implode.
As branding and marketing professionals, we should strive to make kindness and positivity the backbone of our messaging. We should amplify compassion, empathy, and joy. We should make people feel good because that’s what they will associate our brands with: feeling good.
I understand the need to stand out in today’s marketing world. Social media is saturated and we all want to be that marketing pro that makes our brand pop.
We should, however, never forget that we are still dealing with people. Our careers are centered on our abilities to connect with an audience. We can’t get so caught up in vanity metrics that we burn the whole house down for a bump in engagement.
We should add positivity to the internet, rather than adding to its existing darkness.