It really hasn’t escaped anyone’s attention the past few weeks. J.P. Morgan decided to try to engage their online followers by having a Q&A session: “Ask us anything!” The campaign failed miserably, it was quickly cancelled, and the social media manager (if they have any) was probably fired. The question is: how could they not have foreseen this outcome? How could they even have tried to do it?
Tomorrow’s Q&A is cancelled. Bad Idea. Back to the drawing board.
— J.P. Morgan (@jpmorgan) November 14, 2013
I think they just didn’t think it through. I think they didn’t take the time to actually dotting down simple stuff like who are following them on Twitter, who are likely to engage with them on Twitter, who their customers really are and above all, how the Q&A session would deliver value for their target segments.
To understand a brand, one usually starts off by defining the brand landscape of the brand. I’m sure that J.P. Morgan’s marketing team have done that at some point, but they most certainly did not use it. If they had identified their customers, both current as well as past and future, they would instantly have identified a large number of unhappy, directly hostile previous customers, very likely to want to pay back for all the pain that J.P. Morgan caused them (in their perception). Customers that might have had their houses seized by J.P. Morgan or their subsidiaries.
These facts are so easy to find by just doing a quick review of the brand that it is frustrating to see how such a #fail campaign even got out there to begin with. And if they didn’t know this, then the entire brand positioning of J.P. Morgan is just a made-up fuzzy ‘strategy’ without any real content at all. They need to understand their target customers. They need to understand their brand. They need to understand how they link together.
So, the campaign was pretty much doomed from the very beginning. Using even the most basic approaches to branding and marketing communications should have ‘warned’ them for this. Social media in general is not and has never been the ‘salvation’ for every single brand. It’s just a channel that is more or less suitable for different brands. What we need to understand is the brand we are trying to communicate to our customers. And by understanding the brand landscape, we will also understand who our target audience is. If we can do that, the communication becomes so much easier and suitable. Otherwise we will, well, #fail.