|Bryce Lawrence: Publically shamed|
Spring Bok supporters all over the world were outraged at the performance of New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence at the quarter finals on Sunday, 9th October this year. The game held in Wellington saw the game come to a close with Australia's 11-9 win. Not only have fans been outraged but so have the referees association including South African referee manager and former Test referee Andre Watson who publically stated that that the South African referees association will aim to take action against Lawrence. Watson complained of the ref's poor input, "It's not what you would expect from a referee of his calibre. He didn't referee the breakdown the way he was supposed to. He just didn't step in." South Africa vs Australia Rugby World Cup Scandal
When something so newsworthy causes a scandal the feeling and opinions of those who are following the story is no longer a grumbled conversation between friends over dinner. Due to the advent of social media, a democratic platform that enables freedom of speech to be heard on a global level affects how these situations are scrutinised and how they are dealt with. Not taking into account the feelings of the masses on these subjects would very unwise for those brands and businesses involved in the affair as this is a form of power that can give great insight into what the fans and consumers are feeling.
Rugby fans in the Republic have united against Lawrence, and a Facebook page titled 'Petition To Stop Bryce Lawrence Ever Reffing A Rugby Game Again has of today attracted 71,406 likes and counting.
As a marketer, information is power. Gauging the reputation of your brand in terms of what your audience think and feel is what is going to keep your interaction on your side of the revenue generating game.
The audience of any brand not just the Rugby World Cup are aware that standing together on a subject in their opinion makes their say more relevant as it gets louder. Other publications have also got involved with this means of engagement as was emphasised by the New Zealand Herald newspaper among many others who made global news out of the petition against Lawrence, further spreading awareness of this conflict. Some participants in the petition hoped they could convince the International Rugby Board to stage a rematch of the quarter-finals match.
Understanding the affects of communication and news on brands is essential to the marketing of a product and the future of a business. In an age where relevancy is key to the success of any story, paying attention to those who are at the end of the day, paying your bills is really where you need to focus your market research.