Jeffrey Cohen Presents: “Car Crashes, Train Wrecks, and Social Media: You Just Can’t Look Away”

Jeffrey Cohen is not only the co-author of The B2B Social Media Book, but he is also a social media guru who created a successful personal brand. In this lecture, he discusses some of the poor attempts companies have tried on social media in order to gain consumer recognition.


When it comes to companies and brands, they seem to think that the only way to appeal to consumers is to create a humanistic personality when it comes to social media. Brands want to feel more human because they feel as though their audience will make a personal connection, and eventually become loyal customers. With the use of big data, companies have no problem targeting their market niche. Consumers are providing so much data, though loyalty cards and even just the swipe of their credit card, which is making it simple to connect with them. When this much data is involved, there is only a matter of time when issues arise.

One example given during the lecture was the DiGiorno Pizza debacle. At this time, there was a story about domestic violence in the NFL. This led to a social media movement called #WhyIStayed, which allowed people to share their stories about why they stayed in their abusive relationship. DiGiorno Pizza decided to tweet “#WhyIStayed You had pizza.” Obviously this caused chaos with both the Twitter community and the public. DiGiorno took down the post as soon as the saw the millions of comments and responded with, “A million apologies. Did not read what the hashtag was about before posting.”

As a company and brand, marketing departments need to be more vigilant when it comes to what they are posting on social media. If DiGiorno took two seconds to look at the hashtag, this issue would have never occurred. With the rise of social media, companies not only have to worry about their own brand, but also current events. Not only did DiGiorno make a public apology, but they also went and apologized to individuals on Twitter. Yes, they did try to do everything in their power to apologize, but Cohen emphasized that these kinds of problems occur when brands try to act human. Humanity is filled with mistakes.

Overall the lecture from Cohen was very informative and definitely made you look at things with a new perspective. In the past when I looked at a company on social media, I never make the connection that they were acting humanistic. I feel as though I will never look at a brand the same way, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!


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