The Internet, Hostile Territory For Your Brand’s Reputation

Concerned about how your brand might be viewed in the cybersphere? This thoughtful blog post from one of our IPREX partners, Beuerman Miller Fitzgerald, expands upon our #CyberTuesday musings from March.

http://e-bmf.com/blog/internet-hostile-territory-your-brand%E2%80%99s-reputation#

Image via ModGirl Marketing

Image via ModGirl Marketing

If you’re looking for quality insights from an agency that’s been named one of the “Top 5Public Affairs Agencies” in the U.S. then SusanDavis International’s (SDI) #Cyber Tuesday blog is for you. Trust us when we say that SDI is one of the leading sources for industry experts when it comes to public affairs, especially analysis on global cyber security threats.

The Washington, D.C.-based agency simply knows their stuff. We say that with confidence because we’ve had the pleasure of interacting with SDI over the years via our partnership through IPREX, a global network of 70 plus partner agencies, 1500 staff and over 100 offices worldwide.

Written by Tom Davis, SDI’s recent post addresses a topic of growing importance, CEO Realities: State Sponsored Cyber Crime. You may ask how cybercrime relates to you and your brand. Keep reading and we’ll shed some light into what could be a rude wake-up call for your company.

In Davis’ blog post he explores a recent state sponsored cyber-attack on WellPoint, the second largest health insurer in the U.S. who was the victim of a massive data breach this past January. Admittedly, cyber security was not among one of the newly hired CEO’s chief concerns at the time of the attack, and rightly so. Obvious repercussions ensued and the attack on WellPoint was eventually linked to groups associated with the Chinese government.

Perhaps the most pressing concern to us when reading the blog was this quote taken from PwC’s 2014 U.S. State of Cybercrime survey:

“The cybersecurity programs of U.S. organizations do not rival the persistence, tactical skills, and technological prowess of their potential cyber adversaries.”

This begs the question, is your brand equipped to handle your cyber adversaries?

If your brand has not yet been a victimized by cyber bullying then you are fortunate. We’re not necessarily talking about international cybercriminals and massive data breaches. It could be your competitors trolling the internet to say negative things about your brand or media correctly or incorrectly reporting a story that can greatly impact your company’s reputation.

On one hand, digital technology offers real opportunity on many personal and professional levels. For companies, it means efficiency and accessibility. Mobile, social, big data, the cloud, are all trends that are impacting how businesses engage with their customers, partners, and employees in order to better compete. Those trends are not going away anytime soon and companies will continue to put and store information online.

We must also acknowledge that these opportunities present challenges, and there is no denying that cybercrime is a real and ever-growing threat. The vast nature of the World Wide Web coupled with the push for businesses to go digital creates dangers that are omnipresent.

Alan W. Silberberg recently wrote an article for the Huffington Post on the Triangulation of Cyber Security, Social Media + You. Silberberg has a 20 year background in national politics and technology and uses this graphic to best describe the correlation between cyber security, reputation management and social media.

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In his article Silberberg concludes:

“Face it. The Internet is a hostile place for your reputation and your brand; whether that is personal, corporate or government. The control and management of your cyber security, reputation management; and social media appearance start and end with you.”

His quote is not intended to be viewed as a scare tactic to deter you or your brand from taking advantage of the many blessings that come with establishing an online presence. It is, however, increasingly important to be aware of the risks and know how your brand is being perceived in order to appropriately manage your online reputation.

As communications professionals and experts in crisis communications and reputation management, it’s important not to take the dangers of cyber sphere for granted. Being susceptible is one thing but being proactive and prepared for the unexpected is critical. Our recommendation is to identify potential areas of weakness and develop a response plan for you and your company in order to avoid Greg Beuerman’s 4 Phases Of Crisis Anxiety.

Have you done an audit of your online reputation? Complacency can be your own worst enemy.

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