Manal Haddad

Factors That Lead to a Business Getting Bullied Online

Developing your business’ reputation and market image can take years of effort. Sometimes, businesses take over a decade to develop a well-reputed name that their consumer base trusts.

However, unfortunately, it takes far less time for a business’ reputation to get tainted and damaged. Online bullying can have severe impacts on a business. It may lead to a loss of sales and customers and eventually cause a business to shut down.

This article sheds light on the main factors that lead to a business getting bullied online.

Factors That Lead to a Business Getting Bullied Online

A business’s survival relies on its image and reputation. Once that reputation is damaged, businesses have to spend heavily on rebranding themselves. Businesses that do not pay attention to their sinking reputation tend to die a painful death.

Online bullying or cyberbullying can permanently change consumers’ perceptions of a brand. Unlike conventional bullying, which can be contained and dealt with if the right people are involved, online bullying tends to spread like wildfire.

It can expand beyond regional borders and go viral internationally. The most common reasons a brand gets bullied online are poor communication, insensitive content, and cut-throat competition.

Poor Communication

At times, brands fail to communicate their message and, as a result, end up offending their customer base. Even though the brand’s actual intention means no harm, the public’s understanding and confusion lead to the brand getting bullied.

For instance, in 2017, Pepsi aired a commercial aiming to display a violence-free culture and an easy solution to public peace. However, their poor execution led to a public uproar. Pepsi faced severe online bullying for being insensitive toward the gun-violence crisis against African Americans.

Insensitive Content

At times businesses launch marketing campaigns or design products that contain insensitive and racial content. As a result, public disapproval and anger can lead to the business getting bullied online.

For instance, in 2008, Loreal faced severe online backlash for releasing insensitive racist content. As a result, Loreal released a lighter-skinned picture of Beyonce as part of their marketing campaign for a skin-whitening cream. Eventually, the brand had to release a public apology and redesign its marketing campaign.

Similarly, in 2019, Kim Kardashian released a bodysuit brand named Kimono. Within hours of its release, people bullied Kim and the brand for cultural appropriation as the Kimono is a scared traditional Japanese dress. As a result, the reality TV star had to publish a public apology and change the brand’s name to Skims.


Cut-throat competition between brands can cause them to call out and publicly bully each other online. Brands do this to ruin their competitor’s reputations and capture their market share. Such cyber harassment often involves false claims and leads to public deception.

Final Thoughts

Protecting a business’s online reputation is critical for its long-term survival. To save your business from online bullying, you should be sensitive regarding the content you release, work on better communication, and remain ahead of your competition.

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