22 December 2010 6 Comments

Brand privacy is dead: do not waste fund on the funeral

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals


Brand privacybrand+privacyThe last time I wrote on what wikileaks taught us about brand communication, a concerned community member asked me ‘what recommendations do I have in ensuring information stays within the confine of the brand’s radar?’  An online writer captured my mind when he wrote ‘rather than make futile efforts in controlling internal memos and other information, management should operate with an assumption that anything written will end up in digital arena’. The upsurge in number of social media tools seem like we may have to live with its effect for long.

Instead of complaining and grumbling about this effect, as many brands still do, now is the time for brands to stop wasting precious time by pretending ‘this social media thing’ will soon evaporate like rain water. Wise individual knows that whenever there is epidemic, some people will be affected, become victim while some may die eventually. So wise individuals, instead of pretending the situation is not real work hard to protect themselves against infection. While doing this, they also plan to bury as fast as possible the victims.

What I do suggest in this situation is instead of wasting precious time, I think brand owners need to put structures in place. This social media structure must receive the support of everyone within the organization. Top Executives need proper briefing as well as low level manager. We should not forget also that many of them- especially middle and low level managers- have accounts in most of these social media tools. Bear in mind also, that some of their online friends know where they are working. Your employees’ opinion and activities online may be taken to be the company’s opinion. I know someone who was an employee of a particular bank who when she moved to another wrote on her profile ‘I just left an organization that does not know where it is going’.

While this is not an appropriate behaviour on her part, she would have succeeded in smearing her former employer’s image. This among several other instances may make your brand spend huge amount on the funeral services of wanting to remain silent with regards to having laid down rule for social media usage. A crisis that is not planned for will give the brand huge blow. To avoid spending millions of hard earned money on the funeral of brand’s privacy, here are vital steps to follow:

Monitor the trend: first, are your corporate ambassadors using social media tools? Are they exchanging personal opinion on issues that your brand has a stake? I saw recently a television station producer making personal statement on Facebook on issues his station is covering .His personal opinion is different from that of his employers. People may begin to think this is speaking with ‘two-mouth’. This can also affect corporate opinion of his employer.

Put policy in place: When you are done with the first stage, get key internal audience together and set up a policy that will serve as guideline for your brand. If the internal audience has little capacity to do this, invite external consultants who will be objective.

Hire a professional community manager: many still think this is not essential. But if you want to avoid unnecessary wastages, time is now ripe to do this. What you will pay for negligence will outweighs the salary of such professional. If this personal is knowledgeable enough, she/he can also serve as your corporate online spokesperson, content Manager etc. One libel suit can ruin the brand’s networth. I do know this applies to advanced world more. I am aware Nigerian courts still have issues accepting print out internet evidence.

What do you think? Let me have your feedback in the comment section

6 Responses to “Brand privacy is dead: do not waste fund on the funeral”

  1. Positive thinking 30 December 2010 at 7:20 am #

    I agree with this one, social media is a useful method in this time. 🙂

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