Shimone cringed as she looked through the negative comments and snide remarks of Nike fans on Adidas's Facebook page: "Congrats on finally getting the running shoe we had two years ago!"

Ugh. Despite all the detailed planning of this latest campaign launch, she still felt anxious about and unprepared for the avalanche of social media trash talk that she found awaiting her on the brand's social media pages.

She was doing everything her job as social media manager required: managing the performance of the company-owned social media touchpoints, fostering engagement of Adidas fans, and developing relevant content that communicates Adidas's positioning and message.

Still, Shimone wondered whether she could or should do something about the rival Nike fans and their persistent and negative interaction on Adidas's social media pages. Did those comments hurt the Adidas brand?

She realized the industry needs new metrics to understand and manage that type of rival-brand attack.

Shimone is not alone in feeling that the tools she has do not help manage or measure some forms of contemporary online consumer behavior, such as rival fan engagement.

We see similar rival fan dynamics in polarized brand dyads across verticals, including in politics, sports apparel, consumer goods, events, universities, and entertainment products. For example, Coke fans post derogatory comments on Pepsi's fan page. Apple supporters post sarcastic comments on Samsung's Facebook page. Crest fans belittle the new brand extension of Colgate on Colgate's page. And Xbox and PlayStation fans endlessly duel to defend their brand choice.

Although there is growing concern about those interactions and their toxic impact on Internet culture, not much is known about their triggers and potential impact on brands' broader social media engagement.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Behice Ece Ilhan

Dr. Behice Ece Ilhan is an adjunct professor at Kellstadt Business School at DePaul University, teaching MBA-level brand management, marketing strategy, and consumer behavior classes. She is also the founder of Dygetic, a strategic brand storytelling and cultural brand strategy consultancy.

LinkedIn: Dr. Behice Ece Ilhan

image of Raoul Kübler

Dr. Raoul V. Kübler is junior professor of marketing at the University of Münster, in Germany. His research focuses on user-generated content, social media, digital marketing, marketing ROI, and Big Data in general.

LinkedIn: Raoul Kübler

image of Koen Pauwels

Dr. Koen Pauwels is distinguished professor of marketing at Northeastern University, in Boston. He is the author of Modeling Markets and Advanced Methods for Modeling Markets for researchers, and It's Not the Size of the Data—It's How You Use It for managers.

LinkedIn: Prof. dr. Koen Pauwels

Twitter: @romimarketer