We have seen it all over the press and in comments in relation to social media and advertisers in the Alan Jones saga. Clearly from our view very little of this media commentary was based on factual evidence. The team @iGo2 decided to dig into the evidence.

The brand mentions associated to the saga we examined were Mercedes-Benz, Woolworths, Challenger, Freedom Furniture, Bing Lee, Coles, Dilmah, and ING. The pie chart below shows the distribution of brand mentions across social channels and traditional media online.

We then further examined that by data source to understand where the comments and mentions were coming from. Clearly Traditional News and Twitter forming the largest component of mentions.

Examining Twitter specifically we identified when these mentions occurred.

The big peak for Mercedes was in relation to their demand that Alan Jones hand back his “loner” S-Class and the newsworthiness of him “hitting out at ‘gutless’ Mercedes exec“.

What does it all mean?

We examine two of the brands in a little more detail to assess their own social readiness and response.

1) Dilmah

How long did it take them to respond to the JennaPrice Tweet below?  A whole 21hrs 36 minutes (after the Tweet had been engaged with 18 times) and we must say the reaction to their decision was very positive.

2) For Mercedes it took them 17hrs 3 minutes to respond to the issue raised by CatherineDeveny . It should be noted that Mercedes Australia don’t have a Twitter account (only one associated to Fasion week) and do have a Facebook account.

Lessons for brands

Even from this simple analysis we see clearly the some lessons for brands:

Firstly, your social media monitoring needs to encompass your key sponsorships and track (a) what is happening to them in social, and (b) how your brand and brands that you relate to are being perceived in those mentions.

Secondly, your own monitoring of your specific social mentions needs to be able to be escalated and augmented when trouble hits. Weekend or no weekend you need to have an escalation plan which is tested and on standby.

Thirdly, you need a proper social media risk management plan which extends beyond marketing and has a systematic set of processes, and has been tried and practiced, all in readiness for when your “social media moment” occurs. In this regard, your risk assessment for social media needs to include such people and organisations as those you sponsor, and you should know THEIR social media risk plans as well.

In the case of Alan Jones’ Macquarie Network they had no social media preparedness, let alone a social media risk management plan, and had a Board who admitted later that they were ignorant of social media and its role and consequences in corporate governance.

Reeling from the aftermath of the Alan Jones affair, which saw management pull ads from the show in response to a cyber backlash, Macquarie Radio Network chairman Russell Tate has warned other boards to get to grips with social media forces they don’t understand.

“Boards are not at all well prepared,” he said, before adding wearily: “But I’m learning very quickly.” Reported in The Australian October 15, 2012 Get to grips with social media, advises embattled Macquarie Radio chair

In this day and age there is there is no excuse for ignorance and for failing your social media governance responsibilities at the Board level.

This blog was authored by @adamson and @michae1green

Note to research:

  1. Based on declared Australian Data
  2. (<>) AND (“#destroythejoint” OR “alan jones” OR “Russell Tate” OR (jones AND (“873″ OR Macquarie OR “2gb”)))
  3. Analysis excludes Facebook (although our tools allow for that monitoring)
  4. Time stamp based on Canada