This week sees the annual musical battle for the UK number one single and while this is normally a hotly contest and debated competition, this year seems to have gone a step further.
A Facebook group has been set up to try and ‘ensure’ that Simon Cowell’s X Factor singers do not get to the number one spot. The group, calling itself; ‘RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE FOR CHRISTMAS NO.1!’ has championed the Rage Against The Machine’s song, ‘Killing in the name’ to be number one this Christmas (apparently purchases must be made between the 13th and 19th of December to have a chance of getting to the number one spot).
The always sought after spot at the top of the charts had rather been considered a forgone conclusion, as the hype around X Factor has meant that who ever won the contest (the final was on the evening of the 13th of December) would be on top come Christmas. However, it seems that many people – at the time of writing 719,834 people had joined the Facebook group – wanted to protest the ‘monopoly’ of the music charts. The description on their Facebook page states “Are you getting fed up about the possibility of ANOTHER X-Factor Christmas No.1? …us too…so we’re going to do something about it!” And to add fuel to the fire Simon Cowell himself commented on the group saying “If there’s a campaign, and I think the campaign’s aimed directly at me, it’s stupid. Me having a No 1 record at Christmas is not going to change my life particularly…I think it’s quite a cynical campaign geared at me”. The Facebook group has responded by saying the campaign is not anti-Cowell at all, simply anti-X Factor being Christmas number 1.
Comments online do suggest there is very strong feeling over this, and recent number ones have also been X Factor performers, Susan Boyle is currently taking the US by storm as well as the UK. What is interesting is the speed with which a campaign like this can take hold, we first heard about this via Twitter, when one celebrity tweeted about it, but within a matter of days the ‘online community’ has managed to seriously shake the music industry – or at least Simon Cowell! Again and again we are reminded of the power Facebook, Twitter etc can have on brands, organisations and now, it seems on the music charts (even Twitter ‘God’ Stephen Fry has mentioned this campaign on his updates) – the impact can no longer be overlooked and as Simon Cowell has found, by fighting it in a seemingly stubborn fashion; “If there’s a campaign…it’s stupid” it may yet come back to haunt you.
At this moment Killing in the Name of is currently at number 2 in the itunes chart, just behind the X Factor winner. But since writing the above paragraph the Facebook group has added another 1,000 members – surely that momentum will struggle to keep going but if they each buy the single the campaign may yet win out.
Once again; our advice is ‘ignore social media at your peril’ and as for the UK number one; we admit that we bought the single, obviously just for research purposes! Mind you, it is a great track…
Written by Will Edwards – www.bluewoodtraining.com – December 2009.
Marks & Spencer have always trumpeted the fact that they are good at listening to their customers (although that seemed a rather obvious message for any company to adhere to, but anyway) but the fact that they are now also embracing social media, engaging with customers online and analysing their feedback to help make commercial decisions, proves that they are not only listening, they are moving with the times.
Before social media, customers would telephone, email and write to M&S with their complaints and views, but now just as many are voicing their opinions on the internet. In light of this new wave of customer bloggers M&S decided it wanted to play a bigger part in what was going on and wanted to develop a much more direct relationship with its customer.
They’re now analysing reviews about their top 10 returned products for clues as to what it is that makes customers bring them back, and have a weekly report on the product reviews and feature trend reporting that feeds into internal trading and merchandising meetings.
Crucially, Marks & Spencer are also taking public action in light of customer feedback, most recently, addressing an online campaign to end the price difference between its different sized bras – which initially would have been discussed in store between individual customers and staff members – but thanks to bloggers was subsequently highlighted as a much wider issue. As a result M&S scrapped its differential pricing and launched a “We boobed” campaign apologising to customers. (okay so the marketing was a tad cheesy, but you can’t fault them for taking note and acting on their customer feedback here).
Marks & Spencer say they are “moving into a phase of constant listening”, and realise that customer complaints need responses from different people in the organisation (rather than just sit within marketing or customer services) and need to be hosted on an open forum that all of their customers can see. They have come to the conclusion that social media is “how everyone interacts now” (a la twitter, facebook et al) and is how it needs to do business.
Marks and Spencer are proving that they are not afraid to welcome honest customer feedback via the most public of mediums – the internet. They realise that far from harming their reputation, the correct response and action in light of negative feedback, particularly in the public eye, will only strengthen their image.
Gemma Carey, Bluewood Training Ltd, November 2009