28 January 2013 6 Comments

Brand Reputation: The risk in a Retweet ( A case study of El-Rufai and Eva Longoria)

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

el-rufai, Nasir El Rufai, Mallam Nasir El Rufai and Jesus tweet, Mallam El rufai twitter handleThe use of digital platforms has added a new dimension to conversation and brand communication management. Only people with little sense will think whatever is said on these platforms is just a joke that cannot attract any attention. This is much more so if people regard or hold the brand or person involved in high esteem. The under-dogs can capitalize on whatever is tweeted.

Today, when you have a case in court, issue of e-discovery is now being accepted in court. Those who believe or think they can delete whatever they write need to think twice. Never forget the fact that screenshot printouts are also possible. It is therefore essential we think of all the implications before we click the button.

Brand should never forget, perception is being formed every day. Whatever we say or not say today will form part of what stakeholders will assume your brand represent. For instance when you keep quiet at a point you must speak out, many will consider you a coward. A former Minister of Education in Nigeria and former Vice President of World Bank (Africa) is now in a controversy for speaking the truth. Mrs oby Ezekwesili has come out to defend what she think she owed the public-speaking the truth and holding government accountable. Many appreciated this gesture but government defenders had come out strong against her by accusing her of disloyalty and making false claims.

In the midst of this controversy, many online users spoke up and used several anecdotes to contribute their quota. One of these online users @zebbook  tweeted what many had considered as derogatory to the personality of Jesus Christ- Whom they consider as great religious leader and saviour. Unfortunately, this individual was not considered an offender because he is considered a faceless individual and because of  its insignificance followers. But a former Minister of Federal republic of Nigeria- Mallam Nasir El-Rufai  retweeted this with his own voice  ‘Nasir El-Rufai @elrufai “ @zebbook : If Jesus criticizes Jonathan’s govt, Maku/Abati/Okupe will say he slept with Mary Madgalene.”….LWKMD….. 3:39 p.m. Sun, Jan 27’

With this suggestive opinion or contribution of El Rufai to the tweet, many believe he is promoting a tweet/conversation that is derogatory to the person of Jesus. El rufai was also criticized because manyfelt he was insensitive to his environment and the volatile nature of religious statement in the country. Mallam El Rufai had remained silent in this spate of this attack. That has also been considered as rude. One expects Mallam El rufai to have considered his position and personality before retweeting. Particularly where he did not state categorically that ‘RT does not mean endorsement’ in his profile. The issue is no longer that of initial tweet owner but is now seen as voice of El-Rufai.

eva Longoria, Actress, Philanthrophist, Obama Campaign Co-ChairWe should also recalled during 2012 US Presidential campaign, an actress, Philanthropist Eva Longoria who was Co-Chair of Obama campaign retweeted what was considered a racist statement and she received a lot of negative public outcries. Some section of the online users also felt she was offering honest opinion too. In the cause of the trouble, she deleted the retweet but a screenshot had already been captured. Eva Longoria tacitly offered a subtle apology but her image suffered a little bash.

The moral of this:

Consider your reputation before you retweet: What you say today may count tomorrow.

Think about your Public standing as the underdog may not suffer as much your own brand will: Note that your position in the market or brand perception should be important to you.

Put a caveat on your Twitter Bio: It is better to categorically state: RT does not mean endorsement. With this people may feel you are just having fun.

Beware! Having fun may backfire: Even with the caveat, having fun may do an untold damage to your brand at long run. Be wise.

Tweeting out of excitement may have negative effect: We all carry mobile phones around. Often some stuff amuse us and we want to share on the go. Be careful A second of excitement may lead to life time regret.

If misinterpreted, immediately clarify your position: Wise brand understand this secret. Mallam El-Rufai may think it is fun he is generating controversy but the after effect may be damaging or create national crisis. Image if a Christian had retweeted this about Prophet Mohammed (SAW) in this nation. Eva Longoria understood image issue but people like El Rufai may need twitter lesson and online reputation management.

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