Posted by Media Relations on Tuesday, October 31st, 2006 - Comments »
Monitoring brand visibility is the first step in a brand protection program. Once you have identified negative and potentially harmful online coverage, how do you respond? The response obviously depends on whether the allegations are true or false.
If false or factually incorrect, contact the blogger or webmaster and politely notify him/her that the information is incorrect. Make sure you explain why the allegation is incorrect and, if possible, provide evidence. Then, ask for the post to be removed or the comment retracted. In most cases, the blogger will gladly remove the negative comment if notified of its factual inaccuracy. If you find that the blogger is not co-operative, post a polite but firm comment in response to the blog post explaining why the comment is inaccurate. Depending on the severity of the allegation, you may wish to consult a lawyer.
If the allegation is true, this is where consulting a team member with crisis management experience is vital. Always discuss and confirm external messaging before responding and never deny an allegation that you know is true.
In these situations, honesty is always the best policy. Send an email to the blogger accepting the allegation but explain what you are doing to address the situation. It is also worth posting a comment to the blog post with a similar explanation and indicate your willingness to receive emails on the topic. The main thing is to take the discussion off-line so that visibility is kept to a minimum.