Social Media is a Bad Place to Act like a Bully

Published December 22, 2009 3:32 pm by Scott LoSasso

Chain Reaction

Chain Reaction

As a social media marketer, the recent spat between behemoth HP and struggling Kodak underscores how a small player can leverage this space to draw attention and possibly even draw larger competitors into a place that benefits the little guy.

Basically, HP is claiming that Kodak cannot stand behind its marketing claims – this complaint doesn’t draw a lot of ire from consumers, we are well-trained skeptics. Other than the iPod and The Clapper – there are precious few technology products that are truly as advertised.

So now the two companies are trading swipes on Twitter and getting covered on the newswire and the head of HPs social media effort is being quoted with comments such as “You have a fight you can’t possibly win. I am HP.”

The irony of all of this is that this from is the head of social media strategy for HP. This is sure to draw a lot of social media coverage, but not the kind she wants. In a fight like this, the underdog holds the advantage in public perception. To me it looks like Goliath has taken David’s bait and leaned down with one eye open.

On the marketing front this seems to have gone badly as well, it appears that the two have allowed things to spin into a price war. HP can surely weather this more easily than Kodak, but in the long run, it is not good news for either.

It is hard to know what sort of ill will sticks to a brand when it behaves like this, but one thing is for certain, it is better to stand up for your brand and speak proudly of what you do well. If you have to address a competitor directly, do it with challenges that play to your strengths and attack their weaknesses with benefits, not insults – you just look like a bitter, old bully – and bullies don’t do well in the social space.

Scott LoSasso is President of LoSasso Advertising Inc., a Chicago based interactive agency specializing in content marketing strategies and customer acquisition for leading B2B and consumer brands. (See more posts by Scott)