#myNYPD: How not to build your brand on social media

NYPD Logo

Using social media to promote your brand is a tricky thing not only for businesses large and small but also for the government in its many guises. Sometimes these mistakes are the result of misguided or idiotic marketing and sometimes they’re innocent but when they backfire, well, it’s often on an epic scale. The latter was the case with the New York City Police Department …

Completely naively the NYPD tweeted the following:

NYPD Tweet

The barrage of responses using the hash tag #myNYPD wasn’t at all what the NYPD was looking as New York Magazine documented. Here's an example:

NYPD Negative Tweet

Why did the NYPD exercise fail? Because they were not thinking about how people feel, they were thinking about how they thought they could look. In essence, they were thinking about how they wanted their brand to be perceived not how it is actually perceived.

Now, you could argue that the NYPD is perceived positively by many people - perhaps the majority - but the negative feelings held by even a minority are going to be the most visible and the media, bless our hearts, will always go with the negative spin and amplify it until it overwhelms the positive if it gets traction with the public.

If your company is going to try to drum up a surge of “feel good” for your brand, just be sure before you put your plan into action and you know what the downside might be. 

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