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SMW Diary: Suhel Seth and ‘intolerance’

Suhel Seth, Managing Partner, Counselage India and also on the Advisory Board of SMW Mumbai, said that brands need to know how ‘intolerant’ we are as a society and how we love to complain about everything. On social media, brands needs to be rational, quick and curt, he added.

But he warned brands to swim carefully in this pool of ‘innocent intelligentsia’ who use social media primarily to impress others. He recommends brands to avoid politics, sex and religion as these can lead into a different tangent and beyond control.

He lauded @anandmahindra as the best CEO on social media who knows how to be accessible and effective. He recommended cause-marketing groups to leverage communities on social media.

Mr Seth feels that outsourcing social media responsibilities to a digital marketing agency is not the best thing to do, as they are not committed to the brand. The bigger problem however, is a marketing issue, he says. In how we have become dismissive of strategy in favour of tactical reactions, thought in favour or immediacy and foresight in favour of urgency.

Within his 30 minutes, Mr Seth in his usual style – without a slide show, touched upon various subjects including the Paris attacks, beef ban, politics, literature, branding, celebrities, British Airways, Rahul Gandhi, Sunny Leone and almost everything else that’s left.

He also spoke about Lionel Messi – reacting to his photos plastered on the walls of the venue – and how he may not be the best choice as brand ambassador. He directly poked fun at Tata Motors (sponsors of the event), which did not go well with them. It was the most refreshing and Mr Seth had clarified that the views are his own (and they were quite valid too). While he did not even tweet about it, some members of the audience did. The event organisers SMWMumbai and sponsor Tata Motors, got aware of the matter only after a while and immediately put their teams on the task to neutralize any trending and muted the matter.

Overnight, teams trolled Mr Seth with over 700 tweets defending Tata Motors and even bringing in Ratan Tata as a hero against their villain. Sources say Seth finally obliged with an apology email to end the issue.

Mr Seth should have known. After all, he was talking about intolerant, innocent intelligence swimming around in this pool of social media. Which actually makes Social Media Weak.