26 May, 2011

Rally, Fans - Rally!

In case you've been living under a rock for the past month, you may have heard about a massive hack perpetrated on Sony and their Qriocity service by a splinter group of hacker collective Anonymous.

The mid-April leak of sensitive user data affected some 77 million PSN users and shut the system down for nearly a month restricting PSP and PS3 users to single player gaming experiences, if not locking them out from whole games entirely. Fans and gamers around the world were outraged, concerned, and, as it got down to the end of the fiasco, defensive.

All of this happened with Sony's flagship spokesperson, Kevin Butler, undergoing radio silence on twitter.

See, despite initially fumbling the ball when it comes to being up front with the extent of the damage, Sony have come forward several times over the past month giving incremental updates to customers and their fans. Sony has been honest and thoughtful when it comes to their fans in the face of this multi-billion dollar security breach.

And now they are seeing dividends.

A recent study conducted via GameSpot's Trax, the video-game industry's most advanced, real-time market-intelligence tool, wherein they surveyed 2,285 gamers who own Playstation 3s about their feelings about the PSN outage.

Despite being unable to fully use their machine, over 80 percent surveyed said they were very or somewhat likely to return to their PS3s online again following the data breach and downtime and, better yet, fewer than 10% had jumped ship to competitor Microsoft's Xbox Live service.

This, in my opinion, outlines why it's great to have fans but better to convert those same fans into brand stewards.

Sony's fan base has rallied behind their injured company, defending them on forums and sharing any incremental news they can find about the beleaguered behemoth in hopes of inspiring other fans to keep their wits about them.

This should be the goal for all brands; creating a fan base so behind you that no matter the news, they will come to your aid. Fan's that fight for your brand, engage with your brand, and talk about your brand online and off.

Despite the drop in stock price, Sony has maintained their foothold in the video gaming market and cemented their place for years to come due to the time spent informing and nurturing of their fan base.

Other companies should take note.

Of course, the offer for free games and identity protection certainly helps...

Sean Sutherland, Associate Account Executive/Qriosity? Really?

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