The December 2010 edition of the Harvard Business Review had an excellent article entitled, “Reputation Warfare” (http://bit.ly/fA4JYu), that discussed the need for companies to protect their brands from disgruntled customers and employees.
The premise of the article is that companies trying to protect their good names are increasingly coming under assault from small-scale antagonists — virtually anyone with a personal computer and an ax to grind.
Just as the military learned new strategies to deal with information-based attacks, managers of companies can fight back against new media snipers by applying these important lessons:
- Avoid disproportionate shows of force. Respond to the complaint fairly, appropriately and in a timely and public manner. Engage the sniper directly. If s/he is being unreasonable, let the public know.
- Don’t let bureaucracy get in the way. Respond at high-speed. Empower employees to respond in a timely manner.
- Empower your team to help tell your organization’s side of the story. Share your policies and philosophies publicly.
- Go rogue: new media can be your friend and be the most timely and appropriate way to address the sniper.
- Find sympathetic third parties to serve as “force multipliers.” You have “raving fans.” Ask them to help you out.
- Stockpile credentials now for use in battles ahead. Collect metrics, case studies and testimonials that you can reference and share when needed.
What steps are you taking to protect your brand’s reputation?