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Nice Brands Win: TheOnion #Fail and the Golden Rule

I don’t usually make time to watch the Oscars but last night was an exception. My time investment was rewarded with elegantly dressed stars, musical renditions (Les Miserables = wow) and I was reminded of how under-appreciated Jennifer Hudson is as a an artist. That girl can SING. Overall, the entire awards show was really nice. I enjoyed it. Amid the glitz and glam of the evening, in the flurry of tweets shared last night, a brand lashed out with a very distasteful and absolutely mean (that’s putting it nicely) tweet. This brand’s poor judgement and abusive tweet carries with

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I don’t usually make time to watch the Oscars but last night was an exception. My time investment was rewarded with elegantly dressed stars, musical renditions (Les Miserables = wow) and I was reminded of how under-appreciated Jennifer Hudson is as a an artist. That girl can SING. Overall, the entire awards show was really nice. I enjoyed it.

Amid the glitz and glam of the evening, in the flurry of tweets shared last night, a brand lashed out with a very distasteful and absolutely mean (that’s putting it nicely) tweet. This brand’s poor judgement and abusive tweet carries with it palatable shock. In the regalia of the evening it’s like an emotional assault. Why would you be so mean to a little girl? We were all having fun and you just dampened the sweetness of the night with your ill-will. It’s shocking. It’s upsetting. It’s not what brands should do.

I read an article last week in Harvard Business Review about re-entering the age of sweetness. Consumers are being drawn to brands that engage them in a friendly, playful and personable way online. Brands that are approachable and friendly, even when interacting with their competitors, are receiving praise. In this world of anti-bullying, brands should consider leaning toward sweetness over sarcasm or snark.

Remember, unless you’re sharing a video online, there is no tone of voice. Although it’s possible to be sarcastic (or snarky) without being completely mean, it’s a fine line. You can remain playful and witty without a sucker punch, but be careful. When it comes to representing your brand’s voice online, it may just be best to stick with the Golden Rule.

Kate Finley

Founder + CEO of Belle
Currently thriving in Puerto Rico