I’m doing a talk on Wednesday and just for fun, looked up one of the companies attending on Google. I just searched on “(Name of company) sucks”. And what an extraordinary range of stuff I found. A non-objective set of links deep into bits of the organisation’s life…student boycotts based on associations with prison services; bitter employees gossiping online about the drug addiction of their colleagues; as well as some impressive and open bulletin boards run by the company supporting health and safety
What you quickly realise is much of this stuff is very opinionated and not the truth – but it does show how transparent business is becoming and how the world is not such easy territory for the spin doctors to operate in. The proliferation of media and the rise of the net mean that it’s just not possible to centrally control a business’s image, if ever it was.
I think these things tend to undermine further the credibility of those who talk about brand images as something that companies control. They only influence them… and they can influence them better by getting better (a la Cluetrain) at getting more people talking with a human voice – and spending less on image advertising and more on real service and products.
By the way, here are some more things that allegedly “suck” (found by Googling on the word “suck”)