amber reminded us on twitter that it’s been one year since Chili’s brony-gate. looking up the controversy around it from that time reminds me just how wrong everyone got it.
they were not showing solidarity for bronies. they were not trying to market to bronies. they were not trying to trick them into restaurants for brony marked-up prices (as if that would even be possible to execute, but that was one theory on a brony forum). and they did not take down the tweet due to anti-brony sentiment. in fact, the tweet had nothing to do with the community.
someone, like a social media manager or a content strategist or a meme maven or whatever, said “hey, here’s a wacky trend. let’s get on it so we’ll look cool. we can be like weird twitter.” they did not bother to understand the community or the movement, and even if they had, they did not bother to ask “do we belong in this space?” (never mind that, when the tweet came out, the “hey, get a load of this” novelty around the discovery of bronies was passé).
they took it down because they realized they were fools.
i am increasingly making recommendations for brands to stay away from bleeding-edge “cool.” two years ago, i wouldn’t have. i would’ve said (did, in fact) “add a human element, be off-brand, play with memes in ways your audience doesn’t expect.”
climates change, platforms change, audiences change. brands don’t. their tactics might, but they are still here to sell you something. and they are not your friend.
^ know the niches that align with your brand, and own them. things are decentralizing, and you need to know your own market above and beyond anything else.