Keeping your likes as likes

image via flickr user owenbrown

Later this month Mobium will be hosting a free event here in Chicago that includes a presentation from Dave Kerpen, author of Likeable Business, a book that explores what brands need to to do build customer trust, get and stay likeable, and survive in the social world. In light of this topic I couldn’t help but consider the recent controversy surrounding Applebee’s and the company’s approach to handling social media backlash. It got me thinking about just how quickly a “like” can turn into a “dislike” if a company isn’t careful with its customers’ trust.

Although not a b2b-specific example, it’s one worth taking note of regardless of who your customers are. For those who haven’t been following the situation, here’s a quick summary: Applebee’s customer writes snarky note to server on receipt; server’s co-worker posts receipt online; it blows up; Applebee’s fires employee who posted the receipt; many people get very angry and lash out at the company for this decision; Applebee’s then engages in very questionable PR/social media practices including arguing with people on their Facebook page, deleting content, and copying and pasting responses; many people get even angrier at Applebee’s.


It’s kind of shocking that this type of situation could still happen today, when communicating with customers online is nothing new. But the fact that it did just serves as a reminder that one bad situation and a few poor decisions can have very serious repercussions for a brand, whether or not the underlying intentions were good.

So what are the marks of a truly likeable brand? Kerpen lists six key attributes: listening, authenticity, transparency, adaptability, simplicity, gratefulness. Earlier this month Applebee’s broke the trust of many of its customers by very publicly failing to live up to many, if not all, of these qualities. It’s hard to say exactly what effect this will end up having on the company’s business, but it’s an unfortunate situation for sure–and a clear example of how critical trust and likeability are to the way people view a brand.

What do you think? What makes you find a brand likeable? Would a situation like the one that happened with Applebee’s get you to turn your “like” into a “dislike”?

Click here to register for Mobium’s February 22nd event on brand likeability in Chicago with author Dave Kerpen.

For more on building relationships with customers, check out the free Mobium e-book “Hugs,” which you can download here.

One Response

  1. Kay Martin says:

    I like it when a brand is responsive and transparent. I hate hidden agendas and manipulation, which I often times feel that some brands do to spare their “image.” I’d rather have a brand admit a mistake and work in a positive way to correct it than to hide it. I like the human aspect in a brand. 😀

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