Truthfulness Over Perfection Valued In Marketing

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Alan Scott, Dow Jones & Co. SVP and chief marketing officer, said it’s a cool time to be a marketing guy, as consumer expectations of businesses have changed with the rise in blogs and social media.

In the movie version of "Clear and Present Danger," Harrison Ford’s Jack Ryan character advises the President to acknowledge a friendship with someone who has become embroiled in scandal. Being forthright about the friendship would defuse potential controversy arising from someone finding out the President had been less than truthful.

The President takes Ryan’s advice, truthfulness trumping what would have been a failed grab at perfection. Thirteen years later, Alan Scott had similar advice as he discussed Factiva with WebProNews, and the need for companies to be aware of how they are being discussed all over the Internet.

Plenty of places for discussion exist. Scott said Factiva Insight tracks thousands of news and topical websites, and millions of blogs and message boards. They can do this thanks to the scale they have built in to the service.

Lots of forward-thinking companies have embraced the need to keep aware of conversations, before they turn into full-fledged public relations nightmares. Scott invoked Sony and its DRM missteps as the now-classic example of how not to manage one’s corporate image in this highly interconnected world.

 Truthfulness Over Perfection Valued In Marketing

Sony displayed an old school way of thinking, dismissing unprofessional blogs and social media as lacking the ability to have an impact. They found out, by painful example, this was not the case.

"What’s rewarded is authenticity," Scott said. He noted the marketplace as a whole tends to be tolerant of problems a company may have. Truthfulness and candor have become the hotly-valued commodity over perfection.

Factiva’s approach to building sophisticated profiles of brands, products, executives, and corporate initiatives feeds its ability to understand when a ‘bursting phrase’ may represent an issue for a company.

Using Sony again as an example, Scott illustrated that even though the company may not have been looking specifically for digital rights management conversations, the text mining Factiva can do as an automated service would have keyed the company’s PR team into understanding the strength of feeling building up around DRM.

Sony could have avoided some of the unhelpful responses they initially gave as the controversy grew. The scandal over their DRM rootkits on CDs remains a prime example of why any business, whether a Factiva client or not, needs to understand people want transparency from the businesses they deal with regularly.

Imperfection can be fixed. Trustworthiness is harder to patch.

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Truthfulness Over Perfection Valued In Marketing
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  • http://BangkokAtoZ.com Mekhong Kurt


    I write a weekly column on my website, and sometimes I get the facts wrong. When that happens, I post a correction the very soonest possible, even if that means going out of my way to get to a computer.

    Because of that, my readers trust me in two ways: (1.) They know I’m reporting to the best of my ability to confirm a story, and (2.) They know that if I discover I’ve messed up, I’ll danred sure ‘FESS up — ASAP.

    None of us can expect any less of a journalists — and that’s what we who write in the Internet universe are, including, I might add, the so-called “citizen journalists” who’ve transformed the face of the field of journalism.

    • http://fannick.blogspot.com Glenn Fannick

      While it’s true that traditional journalists working for media companies make mistakes as often as bloggers (citizen journalists), those working for MSM companies have the benefit of an editorial process that catch many (most?) mistakes before they are printed. So, I’m suggesting that more mistakes probably get into blogs than get into, say, newspapers. Therefore, there is a need for more corrections too. And yes, making them faster is possible with social media technology/process and doing so does help maintain trust.

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