The study can help socially responsible companies deal with rude comments on social networks

The study can help socially responsible companies deal with rude comments on social networks

Example of a sarcastic response rated by survey participants (image: FGV/disclosure)

July 28, 2023

FAPESP Agency – When a company adheres to a particular social cause, it is not unusual to have to deal with consumers who are not satisfied with the brand positioning. On social networks, this resentment usually leads to rude and often biased comments. Through experimental studies, researchers from the Fundação Getúlio Vargas tried to discover the best way to respond to this kind of comments that are considered “uncivilized”.

Five experiments were carried out as part of a project is financed by FAPESP. For each of them, fictional posts were created based on real publications and brands, with topics such as feminism, racial equality or the LGBTQIA+ cause. The posts provoked uncivilized comments from some users of the social network, which were responded with either a sarcastic tone or a more educational approach. The survey participant then rated the rude comment and the type of response from the company.

Each participant randomly received, by lottery, only one post with a biased comment and the appropriate response from the company. They then had to rate how much they liked the brand’s response, giving a score from 0 to 7. The researchers then performed a statistical analysis in order to measure the average rating of the response by the participants.

The results suggest that the forceful response is the most appropriate way to deal with this type of situation.

“Sarcastic responses, even if they are funny, show aggression. If the brand is positioned in the appropriate way, which according to the participants is the strong way, the company will be better recognized by those who support the cause and those who do not,” the researcher told the FGV Press Office. Lucia Barosone of the authors of the study.

Barros, who is a professor at the São Paulo School of Business Administration (EAESP-FGV), details the type of response proposed: “Our definition of assertion refers to a form of communication that expresses thoughts, feelings and beliefs directly, respectfully and appropriately. This is the answer that will be most welcome.”

According to the researcher, when adopting an assertive approach, the brand does not fail to position itself, but does so without aggression. “At first we thought sarcastic responses would only alienate people who weren’t involved with the cause. But we were wrong. Regardless of whether the person is associated with a cause or not, they prefer to be answered more categorically.”

The professor also clarifies that brand activism is an increasingly researched topic in the scientific community and that the choice for the term “uncivilized” arose from other studies in this line. “It is a very common term in the international literature and combines many meanings in one word, such as rude, impolite and ill-mannered,” he commented.

Barros states that he has already encountered countless brands responding to rude comments, many of which are ironic, harsh and mocking, and this kind of attitude can alienate all consumers, not just the most prejudiced ones who made rude comments.

“When I came across these comments, the first thought that came up was: what is the other way to respond to these placements? We identified another very common type of response, also widely used by companies, which is assertive,” the researcher points out.

See more photos


#study #socially #responsible #companies #deal #rude #comments #social #networks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *