Stuart Baggs – your brand is out of control

I’m not claiming to have come up with the notion that your customers write your brand and your employees write your company culture, but it’s one I keep coming back to.

If the brand is a promise – setting the expectation of an experience – then to be fulfilled, someone needs to experience it. It is a relationship. It is a conversation.

As a social media agency, we are used to talking to organisations about where those conversations are happening. Those conversations are the myriad instances where brands are being experienced by consumers. Where once that experience happened offline and in private, now that experience is lived out and communicated online. The old notion of controlling your brand message is getting dusty.

Nowhere is there a better illustration for how brand control is an anachronism than on the current series of The Apprentice. Stuart Baggs, would have us believe that he is the future of entrepreneurship. He made millions selling conkers in the playground. Everything he touches, apparently, turns to sold. “I’m Stuart Baggs ‘The Brand’ – I’ve got a certain type of charisma,” he told us. His leadership style has got some in the blogosphere thinking – not just Nick Hewer.

I wanted to see what other viewers thought so I did an analysis of conversations on Twitter. Evaluating the conversations happening about him over the last week would suggest that somewhere along the line, his positive messages have not hit home quite how he was intending. On Twitter, just in the last week, of the conversations tracked by Social Mention, only 12% were positive. 32% were neutral and an overwhelming 56% were negative. Although I was tempted to add in a new sentiment category of mickey-taking as this was a recurrent theme.

Based on performance, tonight is the night that Stuart Baggs ought to get fired. But for car-crash-telly-value, I suspect he might be around for a little longer.

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