Open Journalism – Protecting your Brand

Open Journalism

One of the big questions we’re often asked is:

“How do I protect my brand across social media?”

With Facebook and Youtube each averaging over 800 million user per month (about 13x the population of the UK) the openness of the internet means that consumers have a far greater right of reply and can mobilise groundswell much more easily than ever before.

Open Weekend

Over the 24th – 25th of March the Guardian held an ‘Open Weekend’, they designated it “A festival of readers and reasonableness”.

During the weekend, the editor, Alan Rusbridger was asked whether he had any ideas for open journalism. Unsurprisingly, he did and he posted them on Twitter (via @arusbridger). They are reproduced below:

1.    It encourages participation. It invites and/or allows a response #openjournalism
2.    It is not an inert, “us” to “them” form of publishing #openjournalism
3.    It encourages others to initiate debate. We can follow, as well as lead. We involve others pre-publication #openjournalism
4.    It helps form communities of joint interest around subjects, issues or individuals #openjournalism
5.    It's open to the web. It links to, and collaborates with, other material (including services) on the web #openjournalism
6.    It aggregates and/or curates the work of others #openjournalism
7.    It recognizes that journalists are not the only voices of authority, expertise and interest #openjournalism
8.    It aspires to achieve, and reflect, diversity as well as promoting shared values #openjournalism
9.    It recognizes that publishing can be the beginning of the journalistic process rather than the end #openjournalism
10.    It is transparent and open to challenge – including correction, clarification and addition #openjournalism

Branding in the Digital Era

Why discuss these here, on the blog of a Marketing agency? Well, we believe that they encapsulate how communication should work across digital platforms.

Jeff Bezos (the founder of Amazon) said:

“Your Brand is What People Say About You When You’re Not in the Room”

I’d take a little issue with this; digital means brands are always in the room. Their audiences are curating and recombining content, interacting with brands and each other at all times, in public. A brand’s digital footprint is not just a corporate website. Indeed, according to the Harvard Business Review, 40% of businesses now report that they get more traffic to their Facebook page than to their own website. So your brand is what people say about you ALL THE TIME.

So, how do you ensure that people are saying nice things about at all times? You can’t. But by encouraging participation, collaboration and openness and engaging in debate, you can put your brand across in a fashion that you’re happy with and drive advocacy. That’s the best protection you can hope for.