Successful brands know that they are not in the 100% game. They know that they do not need everyone to be passionate about them, in fact it's critical that they don't try and achieve that outcome.
However, successful brands know that it is vital that people feel 'something' about them. That people disliking your brand is something to be welcomed, as long as you have a core of people who are passionate supporters or consumers of it.
This means you stand for something. That you have an 'est'. It is invisibility, and ambivalence, that brands must avoid.
Alan Jones and Kyle Sandilands are examples of brands who understand that they are not in the 100% game.
Jones and Sandilands know that it is not a negative that hundreds of thousands of people 'hate' them. All that matters is that a decent proportion of the (roughly) 500,000 listeners to their respective shows each week are passionate about 'Brand Sandilands' and 'Brand Jones'.
Because it isn't about 100%.
To generate this 'love' and 'hate' requires pushing the edges. Both Jones and Sandilands are in environments where their success is built on, and needs them to be, pushing the boundaries. Occasionally that means they cross the line.
Sandilands has made some appalling comments – the verbal attack on the journalist, the Magda Szubanski comments. Jones has done the same on numerous occasions, and the controversy over the (off-air) Gillard comments has been inflamed by his completely disingenuous apology.
I am not defending the comments. They were offensive, and both broadcasters deserved to be held to account over them.
However, the paradox of orchestrated social media campaigns, driven by people who are generally not listeners to either show, is that when they attack Jones or Sandilands, they are reinforcing the passion that the core fans feel for the show and for the personality.
Criticise Kyle for being edgy or inappropriate?
You reinforce to his core listeners why they choose to listen to him.