More Evidence of the Power of the “Social Customer”

When Paul Greenberg gave some great talks at recent SugarCRM events, he talked about the power that the consumer’s voice holds in the web 2.0 era. He makes some nice examples of the “Dell Hell” fiasco and some other episodes where one person can cause a lot of trouble for a brand with a little bit of technology and enough energy/anger to get their voice heard.

Well, Dunkin’ Donuts has just experienced an interesting case of Dell Hell of its own from a few upset bloggers.

It seems that Rachael Ray was wearing what some observers though to be a “terrorist scarf” in a new advertisement for the retailer’s coffee.  People sensitive to the subject made some blog post about it – and soon the viral nature of the web took over, and soon Dunkin’ Donuts was moved to strike the ad and issue a public statement about the ad.


Now, while opinions will differ on this subject – as to just how ridiculous of an incident this is – but one thing is undeniably clear: the power of the internet to unite a few like voices into a deafening roar. The speed at which this can snowball is staggering.

Think about it. If the web was not as prevalent, it would take days, weeks, or maybe never, for this type of incident to reach critical mass. All it took was a few hours in this case.

So, what if a company like Dunkin’ Donuts – so dependent on brand image – were to actually do something really bad…the damage that can be instantly incurred..let;s just say I hope it doesn’t happen.

But let this be a lesson to anyone responsible for a brand…the consumers are ALWAYS watching…