Hacktivists – a new lesson in brand engagement?
Posted by Guy Grimsley on December 12, 2010
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“Anonymous is an online living consciousness, comprised of different individuals with, at times, coinciding ideas and goals” (Anonymous manifesto)
So far so Matrixbut this week we saw the impact an online living consciousness can have on the market place when Anonymous launched Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and Amazon and successfully disrupted online payments for a short time.
There is a clear functional case for organizations to build up their DDoS defences in the face of such threats, but from a branding perspective there is a bit to learn as well…
Customer engagement with the brand, allowing customers to share their thoughts and tell their brand stories is one of the core objectives of brands in the digital world. Some brands have realised that they have to release some control of their own narrative to invite consumers to share their experiences and so create a richer, more nuanced and fluid brand story in which the official ‘brand’ morphs and evolves as consumers respond to and with it.
What this faceless and spaceless transnational community of Hacktivists has shown is that whilst most brand engagement can be both positive and beneficial, when a brand upsets its audience they now have more tools in their arsenal to share their less positive thoughts about their brand experiences – a brand boycott seems decidedly old hat now compared to directly disrupting a company from carrying out its business!