Control over your brand online? What control?

In yesterday’s issue of USA Today there is an article about the “risks” marketers take when they try to emulate MySpace.com and open up their sites to include comments and feedback from their visitors.

Here is an excerpt from that article:

“Building such interactive relationships with consumers requires the marketer to give up some control, and that has risks. Marketers must monitor sites closely lest they find their brands associated with lewd images or profanity. It is even trickier, however, to try to limit what people say about a brand.”

One cannot help but wonder where the writer of this article has been hiding for the last ten years.

Marketers lost control of their brands even before the arrival of the Internet. Remember email bulletin boards?

And today, shopping comparison sites, blogs and a thousand other sites all give the public the opportunity to have their say about companies and their products and services.

Every word impacts the brands being written about.

Control? Talk to United Airlines about control. The “anti-United” site Untied.com went online in April 1997 and is still going strong.

The battle for control over what is said about brands was engaged and lost a long time ago.

The risk marketers face online today is not about loss of control. Too late for that.

The risk lies in running a business without transparency…you’ll be caught.

And in marketing a business that doesn’t meet the needs or wants of the public…you will be compared and ignored.

We have addressed both of these points in the past: in an article on transparent marketing, and in our recent brief on value propositions.

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