What is “HateSurfing”? And How “Hate Surfing” Can Help Your Small Business

i hate facebook 300x111 What is “HateSurfing”? And How “Hate Surfing” Can Help Your Small Business

According to Rohit Bhargava, HateSurfing is a term that describes the act of going online specifically to read as many negative comments, blog posts, tweets and messages as possible to generate insights that can help you run your business better.

Haters are realities of doing business. Marketing legend Dan Kennedy says if you aren’t pissing off at least one person a day then you aren’t trying hard enough.

When your brand stands for something you are guaranteed to have haters.

Business owners are often shocked to discover their companies are not $100 dollar bills. Their products and services won’t be universally liked by everyone. That’s why you won’t find any “brands of distinction” operating in what’s called the “mushy middle”; a cliché-infested swamp of sameness that exists between the razor-edge extremes of love and hate.

Having haters is unavoidable. You’ll never please everyone. Being 100% honest with you, it doesn’t feel good when someone doesn’t like you or your business. You have to develop a thick skin about it & you have to focus on those who love you.

A brand…if it is going to be effective, has to be bold.  It has to stand for something.  It has to plant a flag into the ground and stake out its territory.  A brand cannot be neutral.

Your brand loyalists will love you. But, there’s no ying without the yang. In other words, if some love you, others will hate you.  You can’t be everything to everyone and be a strong brand. Which is of course, why we have so many “mushy middle” brands — companies who are afraid to take a stand, so they try to be everything to everyone.

The Laws of Magnetic Polarity dictate that a force which attracts one substance will also repel another with equal force. In brand development, it means your ability to attract legions of customers cannot exceed the potential to repel.

hate surfing What is “HateSurfing”? And How “Hate Surfing” Can Help Your Small Business

The best brands in the world never got to be that way by playing it safe or the role of Switzerland. Neutrality is not what great brands are made of.

Which is why it’s worth studying the Miracle Whip campaign, which has the gonads to say you either love us or hate us.


Miracle Whip will not tone it down

The good news is that haters unite your fan base. Your supporters will stick up for you and they will fight for you. It strengthens the bond between you and your audience who loves you.

I Would Rather Have People Hate my Brand Than be Indifferent (Chris Eh Young).

People will love your brand; people will hate your brand. Either way they will talk about it. You may think that having people hate your brand is the worst possible thing. It’s not.

Indifference is. When people are indifferent, they don’t think of your brand at all…ever. They don’t talk about it. They don’t care about it. They don’t have any feeling about it at all.

Indifferent people won’t fight for or against it. They won’t take any stance. The haters and the evangelists will start conversations (read arguments) and that brings brand awareness.

Awareness is one thing that brands need to be successful. You can have the best product/service/idea in the world but if nobody knows about it, you might as well not exist. The worst thing for your business is not to be hated, it’s to be ignored. To remain completely unknown.

The Haters Are the Bottom 20% of the 20/30/30/20 Rule

We all know them. They hate you unconditionally. No product, no matter how good, will please them. They love to spend their days bashing you. Macs are expensive crap, Windows is way better. Volkswagons are crap German engineering, they’re too expensive. Why would anyone buy a meal from McDonald’s? Their food is disgusting. Jedi’s are wimps compared to Romulans.

You get the point. They hate for the sake of hating. The bottom 20% is the yin to the top 20%’s yang. The haters will activate the evangelists. They will cause the evangelists to step up and push your message out even harder.

Spend no time focusing on this group. They will only cause you headaches and grief. Let your unpaid interns do battle with them and then reward you evangelists well. Reward them with special offers, options to be first to purchase your new product, preferential treatment in store. It doesn’t matter how as much as it matters that you do.

Target your customers and split your focus up 60/30/10/0. You will be better off than trying to market to everyone Chris Eh Young.

Bhargava advised that you should to start by listening to what people are saying about your brand online. Find the negativity and you can engage people and hopefully turn their experience around. What if you took an even more extreme approach and dived headfirst into the negativity?

A simple example is going to any product’s page on Amazon and only reading the 1-star reviews. A NYTimes article looks at a professor who analyzed Amazon book rankings for, among other things, a book’s “controversiality index”. From the article:

“But the most telling variable is the one star rating. Professor Gronas found that books high on what he called the “controversiality index” are given almost as many one-star as five-star ratings, creating a horseshoe-shaped curve. As it turns out, these books also tend to have high sales.”

You might do a targeted search on Twitter for “hotel” and “hate” to see what people are talking about that they hate about their hotel experiences, no matter where they are staying.  There are three core principles that can help you effectively use hatesurfing to find useful insights for your business.

1. Find the best keywords. Depending on the industry you are in, people will often use different language to complain. They might share that something “sucks” or that it was a “rip-off” or they might use emotional words like “hate” or “ignored.”  Whatever the lingo, you need to get a good sense of what it is online so you can search most effectively.

2. Choose the right platforms.  In every category, there are places where people congregate to discuss products or services. The travel industry has TripAdvisor, retail products are reviewed on Amazon, and restaurants have Yelp. Facebook and Twitter cross boundaries and be a good place to start for any industry.

3. Spot the insights. Amongst all the negativity that you start finding, the real value to your business will be to find the complaints which might lead to new ideas for your business. This might mean a new feature to add to your business which no one else has, but that consumers are demanding. Or you might change a business practice of yours that you currently have after you see lots of complaints about it (not necessarily directed at you).

5 Reasons e-Newsletters Make People Hate Your Brand

1. You didn’t ask them to join the ‘send out’ list.

2. Your e-newsletter does not relate to their interests.

3. You don’t know what your target audience’s interests are and subsequently only talk about yours.

4. It’s not easy to unsubscribe from your ‘send out’ list.

5. You send too much irrelevant content too frequently.

The ultimate benefit of hatesurfing is that it can help you to run your business better, and spot the opportunities to delight customers which your competitors might be missing. Get out there and get yourself noticed. Reward your evangelists, revel in the haters, and stop the indifference.

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