Organisations don’t own brands. They exist only as a result of the relationship between an organisation and its publics, typically customers.
When that relationship goes wrong the brand is tainted. Today any difference between our expectation of a brand and its behaviour will lead to a conversation on the social web.
Those conversations take place for better and worse, day-in and day-out. They aren’t always pleasant or straightforward.
The relationship between an organisation, whether government, public service, non profit or business, and its publics, in this Internet-fuelled era of democratised communication continues to fascinate me.
As organisations shift from broadcast and marketing, to conversation and engagement, social forms of communication need to be deeply integrated.
This is the shift to so-called social or open business. However I’m not sure to what extent organisations will truly become social. It challenges every aspect of the status quo.
Its an issue that impacts every area of an organisation and relates to culture, transparency and workflow. It will almost certainly take a generation to play out.
I’m going to explore the future of the relationship between brands and organisations through a series of speaking assignments throughout the remainder of the year at the Content Marketing Show, Silicon Beach, Upload, and the World PR Forum.
It might be the subject of a future book. Watch this space.
In the meantime thank-you to the people that continue to read Brand Anarchy and #BrandVandals and share their views via social media. Here are some of my favourite recent comments.
“[…] at the end of last year a new book by Steve Earl and Stephen Waddington hit the shelves and caused a bit of a stir. Brand Vandals [is] a polemic about the dangers facing any organisation as it struggles to manage its reputation in the face of determined vandals out to destroy it on social media. “Media has become a two-way weapon. Nobody can control it. It’s anarchy.”
“Brand Vandals are defined by Stephen Waddington and Steve Earl as social media users who publicly and vociferously criticise your organisation. They are not just members of an external community, but they can be your own employees too. When employees turn to social media for complaining and sharing their grievances a company and its corporate communicators have some major issues to deal with.”
“Brand Vandals is the much anticipated sequel to Brand Anarchy, aiming to arm PR practitioners with what they need to protect their organisations’ fragile but invaluable reputations. This book specifically focuses on the damage that Internet users can cause to organisations and steps you can take to prepare for and tackle brand vandals.”
“There’s been a lot written about the subject of online vandalism, but what sets this book apart is that these two authors are from the UK and they bring examples that most of the people here, including social media people, have never heard about. I found that very interesting. All too often when American writers are writing about damage control, it’s always the same stories over and over again. This book shared light on the subject and put it in a different context.”
“Peu de livres professionnels peuvent autant s’enorgueillir d’avoir su analyser aussi finement les nouveaux enjeux réputationnels des marques et des entreprises à l’heure où un tweet suffit à ruiner 2 ans de communication tous azimuts. Avec « #BrandVandals », les experts britanniques Steve Earl et Stephen Waddington délivrent un ouvrage à lire impérativement par tout communicant qui se respecte.”
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