What Are Collaborative Brand Attacks?

You may have heard of the term ‘Collaborative Brand Attacks’ (also known as CBA)

What exactly is is?

A CBA is a term used to describe a group of people (consumers) who take a (usually negative) stance against a brand/ organization and attack them usually via social media or the internet in most cases. The group of people can be past or present consumers or just people who don’t agree with a brand’s organizational behavior, vision, or what the brand stands for.

Recent collaborative brand attack examples would be the pepsi commercial that was released starring Kendall Jenner. The company faced backlash from many people due to the fact that they were making light of a serious political situation. Another recent CBA was the United Airlines incident where they dragged  a passenger off of their flight due to their own fault of overbooking the flight and needing the extra room for employees.Pepsi Collaborative Brand Attack

There are specific ‘Triggers’ when it comes to a CBA. Triggers are basically the reasons as to why a company has a CBA issue at hand. 

Trigger type 1: Unethical Behavior of an organization. This is caused when the company faces social, ecological, legal or political issues. (Nestlé Palm Oil issue)

Trigger type 2: Problems in core business. This is usually caused when a user has an issue with the company’s products or services or when a company has bad customer service. (United Airlines)

Trigger type 3: Problems with communication. This is caused when a company has unprofessional behavior and intransparency of decisions. (Pepsi)

Amplifiers are actions the company takes to react to a CBA that can actually do worse for the company than help them. For example, if a company reacts in a way which the public doesn’t agree then it will make matters worse. There are certain types of amplifiers:

-Lack of fast and appropriate reaction

-Perceived Unfair use Brand’s Power

-Appealing Trigger-related Content to share

-Spreading of CBA Triggers by Influential Organizations

There are however different strategies companies can use to react to a CBA which include the following:

Change of behavior: When your company is aware that they are in the wrong and want to make sure that this doesn’t occur again, use this strategy.

Counter Stating: Tricky strategy because you don’t want people getting offended or feeling attacked or deemed “wrong”.

-Appeasing: When you want to apologize to customers. Perhaps it is best to use this when someone (an employee) of your company has done something that is not within company agreements and they want to apologize for their behavior.

Bumping Content: Use when you don’t want users to have easy access to finding certain content. In this case, Pepsi could have possibly used this strategy while working with another strategy as well.

-Ignoring: might be the  worst of the strategies due to the fact that people want a company to either take responsibility for their actions or have a justified explanation as to why the certain issue has occurred.

-Censoring/Legal steps: Taking legal steps if people are accusing the company of something they did not actually do but would not suggest this at all only in very special cases.




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