It’s not a secret that employees can be some of a company’s most powerful brand advocates. However, that brand advocacy can’t be forced. In a move that hinges on unethical, Microsoft leaders asked each of the company’s employees to send email messages to at least 10 friends urging them to download the latest beta version of Internet Explorer 8 (and supposedly last before the official launch of IE8).
But wait. There’s more. Microsoft didn’t just ask employees to annoy their friends with useless email. For some bizarre reason, the leaders of Microsoft thought it would be a good idea to write the spam email message for employees, so they could simply cut and paste it into a new message then spam away!
The Register got to see the email in all its glory when a Microsoft employee did as he was told and spammed his friends with it. Seems the recipient of the IE8 spam email message could tell his friend didn’t write it based on the writing style. Wonder why? Let’s take a look at a snippet from the email courtesy of The Register:
“You know I work at Microsoft, and that I love technology. Sometimes I love Microsoft technology so much that I can’t wait to tell people about it, and this is one of those times. Microsoft has just released the Release Candidate 1 for Internet Explorer 8, and I think you should install it and use it today.”
Now, I ask – what would you do with this message if a friend sent it to you? I’d imagine many people would simply delete it. Many others might reply to their friend and ask them what the you know what? Still others might quickly pick up the phone and ask their friend what kind of drugs he’s taking. The question is whether or not any of them would actually jump over to the IE8 site and download the beta version of a product that was wrought with problems in the early days of its prior incarnation (i.e., IE7). I’d imagine many of them are very happy with their Firefox.
The only thing that seems to be missing from the Microsoft chain mail is that part at the end that usually says something like, “send this email to ten of your friends and your wish will come true.”
The lesson to learn – treat your employees well and they’ll believe in your company and your products and become vocal brand advocates without being strong-armed into sending out spam email.
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