We’re all familiar with brand loyalists – people who swear by a brand or its products and willingly promote it and share it with other prospective consumers. But we don’t talk enough about the haters. Brand haters have the ability to take down a brand because of their extreme dislike for what it stands for, the products or message it promotes, and even the price. Particularly, if you’re a business owner, or manage a brand online, it is important for you to use your intel about brand haters to change the conversation.
So, what do we know about haters, exactly?
The bad news is that levels of brand hatred vary across brands and even products. You can have people who hate silently by simply not using or promoting the disliked products, and you have people who openly bash brands. Consider an Apple user. These individuals are part of a culture that consumes various products of the brand at once and love the products’ appearance, function, ease of use, and ability to integrate with one another. Apple products are inarguably the most popular brand of mobile technology in today’s age, and its consumers have developed a cult following to the brand. One of their top competitors, Samsung, sells similar products like cellphones, tablets, and laptops, but cater to a fan base of customizers and tech experts.
In 2016, Samsung had to recall their Galaxy Note 7 after accounts of the mobile device exploding in consumers’ pockets. As a result, an influx of memes and online comments from brand haters, likely Apple consumers, contributed to the bad press Samsung was receiving over the incident. The company lost billions in sales and from product returns and struggled to find a way to rebuild – until they learned what motivated the brand haters. By making the brand haters happy and not eliciting negative comments, not only was Samsung able to rebuild their brand image, but they were able to provide a product to sway the haters their way.
With the release of the Galaxy S9, a mobile phone that was comparable to Apple’s iPhone X, Samsung was able to appeal to the needs of consumers and repair their flailing reputation. In this case, Samsung was successful in addressing the brand haters by acknowledging and owning up to their mistake, and then listening to what these prospective consumers wanted and making it happen.
How do we manage the haters?
I’m not telling you to make a dupe of someone else’s product to address negative feedback about your brand, but definitely take into consideration the reasons brand haters may have to spread negative things about your product. If there is something you can change that will positively impact you in the long run, why not use the haters as a sounding board? In the end, they may challenge your perceptions of your own brand.