How to get Brandjacked on Social Media

ToxicEffectBrandjacked on social media. That’s a lot easier to brandjack on social media than anywhere else for activists. All it takes is a Twitter account, Facebook Page, a hashtag, and a desire to inflict damage to a targeted organization.

Social media is a perfect tool for outrage exasperation.

It is a better tool than any other channels for spreading outrage. People are more linked today than ever before thanks to social media. The cost of access is very low.

Before social media, people who were angry at an organization or a situation had limited options. They could tell their friends about their experience. They could conduct a one-on-one battle with the organization via letters or phone calls. Or they could try to get people outside their sphere of influence interested by writing a letter to the editor that might not be printed. Or put flyers up at the library or grocery store.

There was really no way of knowing who agreed with them or of connecting with these outraged folks, even if they lived in the same location. It was very difficult to start a movement.

Social media isn’t a level playing field when it comes to outrage.

It favors those who want to spread outrage, not those trying to mitigate it. The global oil producer Chevron recently experienced community outrage and brandjacking on social media recently. Oil companies are no stranger to community outrage. They are often targeted by community activists for various reasons and many times for valid ones.

An environmental group in Ecuador, Toxic Effect, is waging a campaign against Chevron. During Chevron’s shareholders meeting, the group launched a Twitter campaign using the hashtag, #askchervon. As you could imagine people did ask Chevron some pointed questions. Many people on Twitter thought this was a campaign put forth by Chevron, which does have a presence on Twitter. It was not. The hashtag became a trending topic on Twitter.

What did Chevron do?

Nothing. They did not need to respond. Shocked by that? You should not be. Chevron did have some options in addition to the “do nothing” one. Organizations do not have to always respond to these situation. And that is OK.
Toxic Effect is not breaking any laws by doing conducting this campaign. Nor are they violating any terms of service of Twitter or Facebook. There is not a whole lot an organization can do in this situation on the surface.
In these sorts of a situations, you have to ask yourself if it is really a crisis or a headache. Will the situation affect your organization’s ability to do business? How will it affect your bottom line? You need to decide the tipping point for your organization to react based on your organization’s business goals present and future.
Was this a crisis for Chevron? Will this affect their bottom line? Will this affect their ability to conduct business. Not really. At least for right now. It is more of a headache for them currently. Chevron will need to continue to listen to the conversations generated by a campaign such as this. And plan accordingly. At some point, Chevron may have to deal with the issues put further by the activists if it starts affecting their ability to do business.

Social Media Crisis Communications: Preparing for, Preventing, and Surviving a Public Relations #Fail,The Book

Social Media Crisis Communications: Preparing for, Preventing, and Surviving a Public Relations #Fail is now available in eBook format. Buy it now!

TIME CRUNCH? Are you putting your crisis communications plan together and need help? Or are currently dealing with a crisis and need crisis communications assistance? Get help NOW. Contact Ann Marie at or +1 302.563.0992 today.


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