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There is nowhere to hide in the internet age.

Book Review: ‘Brand Vandals: Reputation Wreckers and How to Build Better Defences’ by Steve Earl and Stephen Waddington

“The transparency and democracy of the Internet means that
there’s nowhere to hide.”

Are you curious about what technology is doing to the integrity of information? It may be as Jarin Lanier, author of You Are Not a Gadget states: “We haven’t created an information economy so much as we’ve made information free and are destroying an economy in the process.”

Brand Vandals: Reputation Wreckers and How to Build Better Defences goes a step further to explain how the Internet is changing the power balance between corporations and consumers. Recent missteps by companies show the frightening speed at which a businesses image can be damaged or destroyed. Social media has changed brand loyalty from a well-earned reputation to a fragile and vulnerable weakness in the bottom line.

Companies long sought out two-way conversations with customers, but now have no protection against angry rants. Within a minute, a customer on the internet can turn a customer service problem into brand vandalism. While realizing social media does not reflect society as a whole, or your typical customer profile, it is potentially changing the face of your brand and undermining your advertising, marketing and public relations programs.

Today, the social media powerhouses are Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Secondarily, Instagram, Pinterest, and Vine are soon to be joined by whatever new tech innovation may appear. In Brand Vandals, Earl and Waddington cite the adoption of technology as a means of driving social interactions, which is increasing across the generations and becoming deeply embedded in people’s lives.

Brands don’t exist in a vacuum, They exist in the hearts and minds of the audience, and while corporations may do their utmost to shape them, brands live or die by what audiences think or feel about them.

On the bright side, social media crowdsourcing is a great product development tool. Read Brand Vandals to step up to this useful communication with your customers. Risk Management officers will also learn how to quickly change a negative into a positive.

As a business leader, you know there is nowhere to hide. Be ready to communicate and address any perception or misstep before the brand vandals cause expensive damage.

About Helen Gallagher

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