Online Driving Under False Pretenses Results in Brand Accidents

Posts by Anthony

Is your brand driving recklessly online, enjoying a false sense of security?  I think many brands are making a mistake, especially in regard to social media usage.  Online traffic is abundant; consumers steer attention in the direction of all types of sources to find information related to products, services, and your brand.  Many use social sites like Facebook and Twitter.

I especially like Twitter for a variety of reasons.  I can view real-time information, get ‘tipped off’ regarding SEO and online marketing tips, and monitor my own brand.  As a consumer and a professional who is very interested in the topics of branding and reputation management, I especially like the ability to ‘share’ thoughts and feedback regarding brands.

For instance, I have a bit of an issue with the New York Times (readers, I apologize if this is an ongoing theme (and I do appreciate your repeat readership!) but I’m stubborn, and won’t stop until I get attention…hint, hint, NY Times), a brand I highly celebrate and embrace as a consumer.  I understand; people don’t buy physical papers as often these days, likely causing the Times to raise newsstand prices to the point of ridiculousness; get ready to fork over funds exceeding $20 per week if you enjoy perusing the Times’ pages in a traditional, tactile fashion.

I actually leveraged Twitter to give the brand a suggestion…

@nytimes Think of offering prepaid card for newsstands. I don’t want home deliv, but love the print Times, but $20+/per wk at stands=ridic!”

…but they repeatedly neglect to respond to me…an ongoing paying consumer.  I wonder if the Times’ in-house branding and rep management representatives are reading this post.  I’d be.

I get it.  Some brand reps, thinking their brand is contained in some kind of online vehicle offering security, may dismiss consumer social ‘beep beep’s,’ as if the brand is protected though clearly seen.  No, these brands are operating social accounts under false pretenses; “we” the consumers, see you.  More importantly and disadvantageous for neglectful brands, is the fact that other consumers (possibly YOUR consumers) see us seeing you.

I would like to call your brand’s attention to two examples taking place in the last week:

Personally, I’m a huge fan of Danny Sullivan.  For one, Search Engine Land is a go-to resource for a cornucopia of online marketing information.  Secondly, I think Danny is highly intelligent and an upstanding guy; he has many fans and followers on social sites.  If Danny has an issue with you, I’d pay attention because for one, he’s creative; secondly, his own personal brand has recruited a huge following; if your brand is on his radar, it’s likely a lot of people are going to ‘hear’ of it.

Remember the off-to-online brouhaha of differences taking place last week involving two, grimy acronyms, SOPA and PIPA?  Twitter was leveraged to spread the contact info of state representatives (that’s right politicians; your professional personalities are ‘brands’ too!).  Danny tried contacting his rep but somehow the ‘lines were tied up,’ so he came up with this idea, penning a telegram but uploading it, I’ll assume because he knew it would get the most immediate attention there.

In another example, Danny endeavored to “conjure” the online personality of Rupert Murdoch, penning a post regarding online privacy, a topic Rupert supposedly has many thoughts upon and would like to discuss:

From Rup’s Twitter account: (can I call you, “Rup,” Rupert?  Ahh, you won’t respond anyway.)

“Copyright piracy. Everyone now agrees is stealing and wrong. So why all the hysteria? Why not discuss and settle on cure?”

I thought Danny’s post was a great platform for Rupert to ‘sound off’ upon.  I even gave the latter  a little ‘social’ nudge:

@RupertMurdoch you tweeted “Why not discuss and settle on cure?” Ok, write some thoughts here @dannysullivan…

I’m pretty sure Rupert didn’t listen to my suggestion, though one commenter, adopting Murdoch’s appellation, did offer this comic relief:

“You kids get off my lawn, and pay me 4 times for my content!!!”

Rupert, like the Times, ignored me.  I guess that’s understood; I’m just some unknown who may know a little about reputation management, but not one for a brand such as Murdoch or the Times to listen to…

But what may get brands’ ears ringing is my ability to share information with other consumers as well.  I’m of small stature, but Danny is a bit more popular.  I don’t think Rupert understands who he’s dealing with. If your brand is driving around the Web, cruising through social sites under false pretenses, it could be headed for a branding and reputation management collision; something could get bruised, like your brand’s reputation.   Take heed; we’re watching you, ensuring all’s well in the Web universe and beyond…

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