Seven deadly digital sins for brands to avoid in 2013

Seven Deadly Sins

Seven Deadly Sins

A new year is stereotypically associated with clean slates and resolutions. Below is a guideline for brands, and individuals alike, to right the interweb wrongs and to prevent the heinous digital crimes of 2012.


Over promising and under delivering in the Twittersphere is the easiest way to incite a Twitter war or ‘twar’ with one’s followers. A great example of this is the Steers R10 rib promotion which went horribly wrong.

There are more consumers online and they are less forgiving than ever before in the social space. It is imperative that brands have the necessary logistics in place, prior to committing to something via a tweet. If your business can’t handle the influx of foot traffic generated from an online special, best you reconsider the marketing tactic.

Remember: ‘Hell hath no fury like a consumer scorned… and with a social network soapbox, capable of broadcasting to thousands’.

Greed and Gluttony

2012 saw a paradigm shift in the antiquated ideology that bigger is always better (*cough*). KPIs such as number of views, likes, followers and retweets were reevaluated, and the quality of interaction and influencer was questioned.

Brands, their respective agencies, and even a handful of ‘online influencers’ were exposed and admonished for using fake audience purchasing tools to enhance their follower base in South Africa in August.

And more recently, Universal, Sony and other record labels had two billion “artificial” views removed from their YouTube tally.

According to the Huffington Post, Google conducted an audit into music industry channels to combat hackers and social media promotion sites that built up views and likes on YouTube, making them appear more popular and driving advertising revenue.

#ThatAwkwardMoment when Universal only had five videos survive the culling — none of which are music related…

And yes — those one-billion Gangnam Style views are indeed legitimate.


Community managers maintaining brand social profiles should at least be subscribing to a content calendar model of written word development with tailored tactics for each platform to support their clients’ business objectives.

Gone are the days of auto-post from Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn. Repetitive brand noise will be ignored and Facebook’s constantly evolving algorithm will relegate any hard-sell utterances to the basement of social network insignificance.

Remarkable content developed per platform will aid brand messages in rising to the surface and become top of mind with the relevant target audience. Content and advertising cash that is. Billboards aren’t free – neither are sponsored posts.


The word ‘humblebrag’ was coined by Harris Wittels, a writer for the NBC series Parks and Recreation and eloquently explained as a self-deprecating boast by the New York Times; demonstrated below by Martina Navratilova:

Brands of 2013: please don’t subject consumers to humblebrags or — even worse — retweet compliments:


Brands shouldn’t be concerned with imitating the success of competitors, but rather innovate through unique strategy and tactics. Me-too solutions are a handicap for a brand’s success. Social media platform decisions by committee will not benefit business either. It is important to remember that not all networks are relevant for every brand.


Brands have become obsessed with digital and the intangible perception of success associated with ‘trending’ and ‘going viral’. Digital penetration in a number of emerging market countries at the start of 2013 is still low and the reason you should not invest purely in the online space. Integrated marketing communication will be more important than ever this year and so too will the new Holy Trinity — activations, digital and PR.



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