Was playing with Twitter bad for Habitat?

by Maarten Swemmer Leave a reply »

In June this year, Habitat caused quite some fuzz when an intern misused Twitter by using keywords related to the Iranian political situation to promote posts about special offers. This was generally seen as wrong decision which has damaged their brand. However, I’m not sure this is the case.

Habitat generated quite some attention for its Twitter channel, its brand and its website. One might argue that this attention was negatively focused. And that is mostly true. On the other hand, as many others at the time of the incident, I was not a Twitter user and I heard about this in a less detailed way. I was told that this English furniture brand Habitat (which I knew from some nice shops here in The Netherlands) had accidentally messed up some online campaign. My association was not of a negative nature. Actually I thought it’s funny that a typical offline brand like Habitat (with it’s nice shops) makes mistakes in it’s online activities.

Most people probably don’t associate Habitat with ‘online’. In general people tend to try to put things in their context. The default context of Habitat is furniture, which is a relatively traditional kind of product, usually not bought online. (I for one would first want to experience the sitting comfort of any sofa I’d buy.) The Twitter incident does not relate to the most likely context of the brand. It does not say anything about the quality of its products. Also the overall ethics of the company are not really in question either.

Therefore it seems unlikely that the mistakes Habitat made with Twitter have damaged the company or its brand. They might even have benefited it. Most people might not have associated Habitat with ‘online’ before, but maybe some more people might now. And probably not even in a negative way. They might even visit the website.

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