Nearly half of consumers are using social to call out brands behaving badly

brand boycott, brand loyalty, dissatisfied customers

What motivates consumers to attack brands on social.

A new study shows that lying, providing bad service or being rude, are most likely reasons to motive consumers to call out brands on social media.

Consumers feel more empowered than ever to take on big brands. The research highlights why more consumers are recognising and realising this power.

brand attack, brand attack, brand loyalty
For brands, it’s clear they need to actively listen and swiftly respond to social media complaints. While in-person still leads for consumer complaints overall (55%), nearly half (47%) of consumers choose social media to complain. This is more pronounced with younger audiences, with 59% of Millennials choosing social as the first channel to address a brand issue.

Key findings

  • 46% of consumers have used social to “call out” brands
  • 4 in 5 consumers think social has increased accountability for businesses
  • 55% of consumers call out brands on social to get a resolution or response
  • 43% greater likelihood that Millennials will call out a brand on social compared to other generations
  • 3 in 5 consumers say dishonesty from brands causes them to complain
  • 8% of consumers would stay silent if they saw inappropriate behaviour from a brand

Motivations to call out brands

The survey shows that motivations for attacking brands are not just about personal gain. Only 38% said they’re looking for a refund. Most are hoping to raise awareness consumers (70%) or the media (50%). Just over half (55%) are hoping for an apology.

The impact on brands

According to the research, negative reviews on a brand do have an impact on future consumers. 59% of consumers said they would think twice about buying from a brand after seeing a negative review.

If brands respond badly to complaints, they are likely to experience brand boycotts and further online shaming. However, if they respond well, consumers are also likely to want to share their victory which can potentially help redeem some of the brand’s reputation. Only 6% said they would continue to boycott the brand.

The survey was conducted by independent research firm Survata on behalf of Sprout Social. Full details of the study are available in the Sprout Social Q3 Social Index Report.

Michael Hughes

Michael is Managing Partner and Strategy Director at Truly Deeply, a brand agency with 25 years’ experience working with brands to position them for growth. His deep expertise is in unlocking the strategic power of your brand to create a differentiated, compelling and authentic brand proposition that will engage all your audiences. Michael has extensive experience working across Australia and the Middle East working with leading Australian and International organisations across just about every sector.

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