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Alan Lane - Reputation Management Expert, VASGAMA

Page history last edited by ym@... 13 years, 6 months ago

Email from Alan Lane, Reputation Management Expert, VASGAMA - 12 Nov 2007


Hi Yang-May
My collective thoughts on the questions raised below are as follows.
1. Microsoft issue. I gather that the problem was the fault in the MS systems; and so bloggers attacked the company over this. Apple had a similar scenario when their Ipod had problems; so nanoisrubbish.com
was the bloggers' vehicle.
MS's action of using a responder was not a good idea; and I saw the criticism in the comms press; ie the usual Goliath versus the little people.
2. Current chat in our circles is that bloggers should not be given a profile far beyond what they are. They are opinions often unresearched and not founded on fact, and very personal. Many organisations do not see them as worth taking to task online.
McDonald's took on the small NGO group who criticised their food etc in a very bullying way. As far as I know they saw the online stuff being written about them and leaflets being handed out on street corners as a red rag to a bull. The heavy US HQ approach led to a very public fight and the longest court case in English legal history. Both sides had a sort of victory, via the European Court, but Big Mac came out worse as the bully etc. A softer, negotiating approach, with fact being put up for the public to consider, would have been better.
Some years down the road, Big Mac has learned lessons, along with people like Nestle and Syngenta.
Rather than get into an online slanging match, they put their executive statement on their website and point out where this can be seen on sites like Wiki or others.
Their approach is in general terms: 'here is our position for you to consider; others may have different views but........etc etc.'
I know Syngenta have a statement on all major issues affecting them on their website for public access; almost pre-empting a blogger being seen as the source of any information. Others have links on their site to external expert groups (government/research institutes) for enquirers to access for further info or a third party view.
Some companies today see the web as the new engagement space and an opportunity to get their message out without having to go always via the media, where it may be filtered or manipulated. Bloggers are an issue, but a company must have faith in their response over the long term and let the people decide. 
3. So in a nutshell, companies cannot control what is said on line. But they can put their position up for consideration; which in due course may be seen as more believable than the bloggers if holding a consistent trustworthy line.
4. Problem with responding always via sites like Wiki is that you may correct something but then a lockout occurs and you can't access to make further updating. So controlling your information is key; via your own means or on a responsible site.

Best regards


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