It is a good thing that we are still surprised to read certain stories or hear of certain actions, and my most recent surprise was reading that Samsung was fined for paying people to specifically bash one of their competitors products online. I wouldn’t be shocked to hear that idea come up in a meeting from someone who didn’t know the space or the implications, but I am still surprised when tactics like these make it out the door and into the real world. It tells me that a some big brands still don’t know some of the basic rules and best practices around promoting their own products in the digital space, and that above all is most surprising.

One of the great equalizers of the internet is that everyone has a voice, an opinion, and the ability to amplify both. If you provide a great product, service, or experience, then sometimes a delighted customer will take to the web and voice their happiness. If you provide a poor experience, then most times an unhappy customer will voice their disapproval. In most cases these opinions are offered willingly and free of charge, and if you are doing things right, you are listening to the good and bad, responding to both, and amplifying the ones that will help your brand. With a big brand, a lot of these conversations just happen, whether you facilitate them or not, and you are at a distinct advantage out of the gate. But to gain and hold the advantage, you have to get at least two things right: deliver a great customer experience and product. If you do those two things well, then you don’t need to intentionally disparage your competitor online, your products and services will stand out on their own.

If you find yourself thinking about how to get people to bash your competitors products to make yours look better, you are putting your energy into the wrong place. Instead, work on making what you have better.