The North East has a lot to be proud of and a fine example of some of the top talent it is home to is Stephen Waddington, co-author of ‘Brand Anarchy: Managing Corporate Reputation’, published by Bloomsbury in March 2012. Ever at the forefront of the communication industry, in this new book he and fellow Speed Communications counterpart Steve Earl look closely at the media landscape and its continuing fragmentation – providing a frightening reality check to those who think they can control their reputation, but also delivering clear advice on what to consider going forward for those concerned with what others think or say about them.
The pair are both former journalists turned PR practitioners that have worked together since the popular rise of the internet and the dawn of digital media. Their views are formed from 20 years spent working in one of the most competitive media and public relations environments in the world, helping brands such as the Associated Press, Cisco, The Economist, IBM, Tesco and Virgin Media to manage their reputations.
Easy to read, the book is a stark reminder of the how different the world of communications is even from just two years ago. Distilling in just one volume a clear overview of where conventional, digital and owned media now stand in relation to each other, it soon becomes chillingly obvious how the power to drive the conversation is no longer in the hands of corporates or individuals – if indeed it ever was.
As the synopsis says: ‘The fragmentation of media and the rise of social media has brought brand and personal reputational risk into sharp focus like never before. Disaffected shareholders, customers and staff are voicing their opinions to a global internet audience. In a brand context it is reputation anarchy.’
Featuring interviews with thought leaders such as Greg Dyke, Alastair Campbell and Seth Godin, and real life examples of when reputational disaster has struck, the publication draws on the insights gathered to look forward and forecast what the future holds. Set to be a bible for students of PR and marketing, the title is also a survival guide for any individual or organisation that cares what people say about them.
As Stephen says: “Within the next 12 months social media will cease to be used to describe media that is generated by consumers formerly known as the audience, or content that is shared via networks. In 2012, with few exceptions, all media must be social.
“Anyone with access to the internet can now voice their opinion, good or bad, via social forms of media such as a blog or networks such as Facebook or Twitter. Individuals with a shared interest are able to find each other and share information. Organisations that care about their reputation have no choice but to listen.
“But for its part the communications and PR industry is fracturing. Modernisers are helping chart the new media landscape, digital specialists will tell you online is all that matters, and traditionalists continue to communicate via the proxy of traditional media.
Stephen continues: “The era of command and control media relations where a programme of activity could be mapped out against media titles has gone. The 24 hours news cycle is almost a memory and the number of outlets has proliferated. This new media landscape is much more challenging for communicators.
“The book examines how communication has become a critical part of every aspect of a business and suggests that in the future the only sustainable form of communication will be a transparent dialogue with your customers and wider communities.
“Brand Anarchy is an attempt to bring clarity to the future of corporate reputation. You can’t control what people say about you. But by engaging in a participative relationship you will be able to get more control over it than you’ve had in the past.”
To order a copy of ‘Brand Anarchy: Managing Corporate Reputation’, visit http://wadds.co/BrandAnarchy. You can also follow both authors on Twitter, Steve at @mynameisearl and Stephen at @wadds.