Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Brand Communication, Social Media expert, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps brands(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 and African Child Right Inc.Lagos Nigeria
This social media thing will cause a lot of damage to brands who find it hard to acknowledge the truth. This is not a good time for brands with ‘hardcore’ lying spirit. A Nigeria adage says ‘if lie travels for twenty years, it will only take one day journey for truth to catch up’. If we must say something now, we must consider the listeners. Everything a brand says today will go through ‘scrutinizer’s lab’. Every brand needs to acknowledge the truth.Even when the truth hurts. It is better to accept bitter but constructive criticism. Following of lies may eternally affect brand image.
At the World Economic Forum, the award -winning Television host Christiane Amanpour interviewed the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan. Part of the interview focused on power situation in Nigeria.
In his response, President Jonathan did say the power situation had improved rapidly so much that Nigerians are now happy. Within seconds, social media users in Nigeria went agog and denounced what they considered a diplomatic lie and half truth. Some in the spirit of patriotism would not want Africa’s largest country to suffer shame. As a follow up, CNN did an ‘open Mic’ which was not that favourable to the President’s position. As an individual, I do always take international report about Africa and in this instance Nigeria with a bit of caution. Everyone who is familiar with media understands this. The Western media Agenda and gatekeeper roles are fundamental issue. But if one follows this story, one is able to honestly asses the truth and move on.
Anyway the reason for this is piece has nothing to do with media at large but what social media can do to any story or diplomatic lies. It will be good to acknowledge the truth, accept responsibility and move on. Anything short of this will lead to other destructive contours.
Amanpour’s interview with President Jonathan generated lots of noise on social media and this led to fact digging. In one of these conversations, a Nigeria Idris Ayo Bello tweeted ‘@idrisayobello: Nigeria should bid to host next SuperBowl. At least we have standby generators’. This then became a point of reference for Amanpour’s commentary on her post interview with President Jonathan. As at the last count, the video has been recommended by 271 people.
As we continue to monitor the events as they unfold, there is a possibility the image and perception of Mr President may be affected at the end. So what lessons can brands learn?
Be prepared for any media interview: when it comes to media interview, be adequately prepared. This is especially so if you are the brand’s spokesperson. Media professionals may not be your friend when they ask questions. They will dig for facts.
Acknowledge the truth and bridge the gap with positive note of positive efforts you are taking: Frame your words, acknowledge the truth first and learn to bridge the gap to your positive achievement. Do you think the situation would have been different if what the President said at the end formed his opening sentence?
Everything you say will be scrutinized: President Jonathan might not have given thought to this. Let us learn from this. If your brand’s speech is scrutinized, will it contain half truth or ‘diplomatic truth?’
Social Media may amplify yoor point: we live in social media age. It can serve as speech amplifier.
Beware of what you tweet, It may end up on CNN: Idris Ayo Bello in one of his tweets later pointed this out as a lesson he had learnt in the process. Be thoughtful when you are online, think before you hit the ‘enter button’. What if it ends up on CNN? Will you be proud of what you say?