oet Robert Burns is widely credited with the phrase, ³The best laid plans of miceand men often go astray.´ Relating this phrase in a business context, it stands toreason no matter how much a company orchestrates activities and executes itsbattle plans²high-impact mistakes happen. However, in an age of over-optimization, and marketing and communications cost-cutting, ³soft stuff´ such asbrand management, press relations, crisis communications and the like are oftenshelved or discarded in favor of ³just-in-time´ strategies. Indeed, reputationmanagement isn¶t needed « until it¶s needed.In an article from ³The Observer ,´ John Naughton wonders in amazement at howsociety ever managed without the Internet. Naughton ponders a world withoutGoogle, Skype, instant messaging, and online bank accounts. And while theInternet has created boom for most of us, the rise of social media hasn¶t beensweet ambrosia for all companies.In fact, with social media and Internet technologies, now company decisions andactions are mostly public, including those of front-line employees. Now, actionsthat happened last week, last night, or 10 minutes ago can be broadcast acrossthe globe in seconds, creating very dangerous challenges for company brandingand reputation efforts.In the Financial Times article ³
erils of a Tarnished Brand,´ authorsMorgenWitzel and Ravi Mattu notice that even the most scripted andorchestrated product launches can go haywire. And even when ³best-intended´marketing plans are well-executed, companies can be exposed to theramifications of their daily operational and strategic decisions (e.g.,Google inChinaandB
. ³What affects reputations, in turn affects brands,´ the authorspoint out.Every employee is a brand ambassador, and brand management is no longer simply the purview of marketing managers. Even the best branding intentionscan go awry when actions don¶t back up corporate speak, say Witzel and Mattu.