Ever have that friend or colleague, who is a polar opposite of you? Sometimes communication between the two of you may be difficult or unclear. Or maybe, you surround yourself with a network of individuals who are like-minded to your tastes and opinions.

In reality, most of us tend to surround ourselves with people who have similar characteristics to us and who think like us, specifically in the workforce. Let’s be real, people normally see their coworkers just as much if not more than their own family. Eventually, co-workers start thinking the same way and creating analogous ideas, especially when working with material, products, or projects so closely with one another. What does this result in? An echo chamber. An echo chamber is when a company only relies on their stakeholders’ and employees’ ideas, rather than stepping outside of the company to find different perspectives.

Most of us have heard about the Kendall Jenner and Pepsi commercial fiasco. This commercial was an example of what can happen if your company has an echo chamber. If you haven’t heard of the commercial, here’s a quick snapshot of why the commercial went infamously viral. It was a controversial ad, underplaying police brutality. Kendall Jenner gave a cop a Pepsi, and suddenly the riots ceased, and everything was utopian and peaceful. Essentially, the commercial was communicating that if you give a cop a Pepsi, he won’t arrest you . . . because Pepsi = Peace? People did not agree with this message because giving a cop a Pepsi clearly would not miraculously bring peace.

Pepsi received a plethora of backlash from airing this commercial. In this day and age, thinking about your target audience is the key to marketing. Was Pepsi really thinking about their target audience? Or were they too focused on giving the message of how amazing their product was? Pepsi didn’t exactly realize what they thought was a message of “product awesomeness” was instead a controversial message, which would lead to clients refusing to buy Pepsi products.

Why did this happen? Well, chances are they were working inside of their company. They weren’t testing the science behind their ads and marketing. They were going in blinded by their adoration for Pepsi products. Hence, they received horrible publicity and were considered to be ignorant and insensitive.

Too often, companies are too close to their products to produce quality marketing that reaches several target audiences. Furthermore, many employees are too scared to voice their opinions to their boss, even if their boss has a bad idea. Maybe there were Pepsi employees who were working on the Pepsi ad and disagreed with the message the ad was portraying. They could have easily been too scared to voice their opinion to their boss on how they thought they were walking on dangerous waters, and how airing it could get them into social and political trouble.

What can you do to prevent something like this from happening to your company?

  1. Identify your target audience
  2. Hire a research company to give your company various perspectives from your target audience
  3. Require the research company to gather qualitative, quantitative, and eye tracking research on what your target audience thinks of your marketing techniques

Discida can help prevent your company from developing an echo chamber. We will interview your target audience, gathering their thoughts, opinions, and suggestions on how to make your ad, website, and other marketing material better and more effective.

The answer? Discida.

Also published on Medium.