How Pepsi's Grammatical Errors In Social Media Hurt Its Fight Against Coke

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A slight grammatical change can make all the difference.

According to a recent study, customers value proper grammar more than anything else in their social media interactions with brands.

That's bad news for Pepsi, which makes more grammar errors on LinkedIn than Coke, and for General Motors, which gets things wrong more than Ford.

London agency Disruptive Communications took a poll of 1,003 British consumers this past July and asked them what factor would most likely damage their opinion of a brand on social media.

"Poor spelling or grammar" came in at 42.5 percent, far ahead of second-place "Updates are too 'sales-y'" at 24.9 percent.

It is interesting to note that among the 18-24 year-olds polled, the top choice was "Does not post updates enough" at 22.1 percent. A lack of activity got an almost equal amount of votes as bad grammar, which came in at 20.9 percent in that demographic.

Bottom line: customers pay more attention to the little things than brands may think.

The proofreading software service Grammarly decided to take a look at three of the world's biggest brand battles and see how the grammar on the competitors' LinkedIn pages stacked up:

Coca-Cola had 0.9 writing mistakes/100 words vs. Pepsi's 3.6 writing mistakes/100 words

Google had 1.1 errors/100 words vs. Facebook's 4.3 errors/100 words

Ford had 0.5 errors/100 words vs. GM's 1.3 errors/100 words

Grammarly did not try to draw too many conclusions from the brief study, but noted that "the care that a company takes with its communications is often indicative of its overall attention to detail."

In addition to consumers, investors and competitors may judge a company based on its sloppy writing, the report continued.

Of course, things like tweets don't have to be literary masterpieces, but relaxed writing in an attempt to be hip can easily turn into a disaster (see our ranking of Biggest Social Media Marketing Fails Of 2013).

We originally found these reports on Dixon Schwabl's site. 



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