This article was written by Ushma Kapadia.
“Let Love Go Places,” said Yatra.com.
“Proudly yours,” said Reliance.
“Let’s get one thing straight. Love is love,” said Zomato.
“It’s a good day,” said a Britannia Good Day biscuit ad.
“Ride with pride,” said Uber.
In declaring S377 unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has possibly rewritten how future generations will come to respect every individual’s choice of sexual orientation. The LGBTQIA community’s joy knew no bounds. By extension, many Indians were individually touched at the power of The Constitution to shed a colonial-era legislation and effect transformative, nationwide change. Emotions were running high. Brands and individuals alike, took to Social platforms to express themselves.
Some brands adopted tokenism, by use of clever play on graphics and/or text.
Whereas others captured the powerfully transformative essence of the order.
This outpouring was no one-way street, with only brands taking to Social. Social users met Brand-generated messages with mixed responses. Traditional Social metrics (number of likes, shares, retweets etc.) aside, Social users called out some brands, for disconnected messaging on Sexual Orientation. For instance, Yatra’s Instagram post was compared to their past TVC (referred to as “transphobic”).
Another expression of backlash was whether brands celebrating the S377 order; actually implemented the Anti-discrimination spirit it embodied. Social users pointed to lack of inclusive hiring and non-pursuance of anti-discriminatory practices at workplace.
What the S377 exchange tells us is – Social users embrace platforms to engage with brands; rather than passively consume brand messages. For brands to fully engage with their audiences, their Social Data Engine needs to help them:
- Seek insights beyond measuring campaign performance: There is much to learn and know about your consumer, beyond black-and-white numbers.
- Review past (internal) data, before choosing a topical issue to piggyback on: Before associating with a topical theme, there’s merit in knowing how your brand is perceived by your Social citizens
- String together, all brand-generated messaging across platforms: With widespread Social presence, comes the responsibility of ensuring a consistent brand image across platforms
- Judge the pulse early: Responding to a ‘trending’ issue might win your brand instant share-of-eye. But it is equally (if not more) critical to develop a consistent voice on Social.
In sum, a brand’s social-listening practice needs to go well beyond traditional Social Media Monitoring; to achieve rich, two-way, affinity-building engagement.