May 20, 2010
And here’s why.
Substantial damages paid by national newspaper, after online story version containing libelous statement went live. Proof that bloggers can – and will – fight for their reputations to be protected. I think it’s a stunning example, but won’t be the last.
There is a perception that if comments are posted online, rather than in print, they don’t hold the same weight or force – not so, of course, as this case has clearly highlighted. Content is powerful, irrespective of the medium on which it is conveyed.
Maybe that’s why Kwik Fit have maintained complete silence over this corporate reputation debacle throughout the whole of 2010.
May 16, 2010
If you thought that a bit of negative online PR didn’t hurt businesses, look at this outstanding article from Mathew McDougall regarding the ongoing BP oil spill. The corporate PR fallout is proving as damaging for the company (estimated at $14 billion to date) as the environmental impact on Mother Nature.
It raises the question for me – can a business afford not to monitor, measure and manage its own messages online?
In this age of constant online comment, blogs, tweets, customer forums, 24-7 News sites and the ever-increasing power of individual platforms – such as the recent impact of Nestle’s share values from the implosion of their Facebook Fan page – it seems more important than ever before for companies to address issues online as soon as they are raised.
We’ve seen the disastrous effects of non-positive action, denial, finger-pointing and the like in recent weeks here, too. That particular blog is costing Kwik Fit 100 customers per day, but in the absence of a responsible management team on board, one expects nothing more – or less, really.
So, my top tips to handling negative online PR? Well, three simple steps really:
* Be open and transparent in approaching the issues.
* When you’ve listened to the issues, listen some more.
* Do whatever it takes to put it right. Whatever it takes.
I am talking about the Kwik Fit deathtrap car blog post, of course.
The one which Kwik Fit management have been monitoring daily for months now, following their refusal/inability/arrogance to resolve the life-threatening issues around service at one of their UK branches – to resolve it publicly, professionally and promptly.
The only responses appear to be coming from Kwik Fit employees on Facebook – have a look here for yourself. Interesting stuff.
Next port of call here – let’s see if Kwik Fit management can ignore, evade and cover up from BBC Watchdog researchers.