Brand Emergencies! Using Data to Understand a Campaign’s Impact on Your Audience

When a brand emergency arises, brands must be armed with as much information to get ahead of the curve and deal with the situation in the best way possible.

On Tuesday, Pepsi found themselves in their own brand emergency. After releasing a new protest-themed commercial starring Kendall Jenner, the internet erupted with backlash; eventually leading to the removal of the ad from YouTube. According to EW, critics accused Pepsi of "appropriating the spirit and imagery of the anti-Trump resistance, Black Lives Matter, and other movements to sell soda." Yikes!

Using interest-based segmentation and data science, brands can quickly understand who is impacted by a crisis and whether they need to go into full damage control mode or wait for the storm to pass.

Time is of the essence in a brand crisis and every minute counts. Prior to the removal of the ad, we analyzed anyone who shared the keywords "Pepsi" OR "Kendall Jenner" in the USA on Twitter. Note: these results generated in under one hour.

Affinio’s algorithm segments individuals into interest-based clusters based on their shared interests and affinities. Take a look at the communities contributing to the conversation: Black Lives Matter Supporters, The Resistance, Gamers, and Pop Culture Fans.

Affinio can hone in on each audience segment and understand the context of their conversation – were they mad about the new commercial or happy to see Kendall’s new gig?

By understanding which audiences are actually affected by a crisis and how dense these communities are, brands can identify the most relevant content strategy, media sources, influencers, and communication channels to reach them and make amends, using affinity data.

Could the backlash have been prevented with data?

Brands like Pepsi can use interest-based customer segmentation to be proactive around social and corporate responsibility issues and themes. Affinio helps brands gain a cultural understanding of human rights activists, protesters and the audiences passionate about issues like climate change, sustainability, and equality. A proactive audience insights approach would have allowed Pepsi to understand the behaviours, passions, interests, and cultural makeup of the #BlackLivesMatter and Anti-Trump groups at the campaign planning stage. Affinio’s interest graph can inform a campaign strategy from the ideation and strategy stage to campaign execution and tailored audience activation.

Do you think Pepsi will recover from this brand emergency?


See how top PR agency, RF|Binder, uses Affinio to help their clients: