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online reputation

How Reputation Management Has Changed

The Good Old Days

Our fast paced instant access world has dramatically changed how celebrities manage their images. In the days before Google, Instagram, Twitter, and a host of other media outlets, celebrities didn’t have to be concerned about every move they made. All poorly chosen words, indiscretions, and bad hair days only needed hidden from the Paparazzi. If an unflattering bit of gossip made it into the public eye, a few lavish gestures of kindness or a repentant press conference could smooth things right away. If something particularly inflammatory surfaced, a libel suit and retraction usually repaired any reputation damage. Often, cozying up with journalists by granting exclusive interviews or special access to photo shoots would protect a celebrity from extreme scrutiny.

A Game Changer

online businessEnter modern technology and everything changes. At first, unflattering Facebook posts and information amassed on Google were the largest online reputation threats. As technology advanced reputation management became more difficult. Celebrities find themselves scrutinized and criticized on an almost constant basis. In addition to verbal reputation damage, unknown photographs, videos and voice recordings can do massive and career altering damage with enormous consequences. In the 2012 Presidential election candidate and Republican Party nominee, Mitt Romney’s campaign was rocked to its foundation by a recording of Romney. The recording, taken at a fundraiser, allows the public to see Romney’s true feelings about various groups of American’s, especially the poor and working class. His Presidential campaign never recovered. Another example would be the destruction of former Food Network diva Paula Deen. Her entire empire crumbled after reports of racist comments she had made surfaced. Instant access to so much information by nearly everyone is alarming fact to celebrities and they are turning to Reputation Management firms to help.

How Did We Get Here?

Reputation management is an essential part of public life in the twenty-first century. Celebrities are seeing that protecting themselves, their families, and their brand is more important than ever. Especially considering the fact that anyone can go online and claim anything they want to claim with nearly no fear of repercussions. This is particularly simple because the Internet grew and expanded so quickly that no mandatory laws or systems are in place to authenticate claims or identities. The antiquated Communications Decency Act passed in 1996, and is not up to date with the current internet abilities or the plethora of social media outlets. According to this law, website operators assume no legal liability over what posted content on their websites. Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act reads, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” This is frightening at best and potentially destructive at worst.

Someone to Watch Over Me

brand reputationReputation Management firms can stand in the gap between celebrities and those who try to harm images and destroy careers. A celebrity cannot possibly monitor all online activity that is attached to their name. This is where reputation managers are invaluable. By employing all necessary means, a good reputation manager can vigilantly oversee online content; staying a step ahead of detractors posting inflammatory and inaccurate information. Reputation managers do more than respond to online negativity; showcasing good and positive publicity in the wake of something negative is a common way of repairing a reputation while taking advantage of the buzz surrounding the celebrity in question. It is important to note that celebrities and reputation management firms must be proactive with image management. The time to put together an accurate and positive image is before any damaging content surfaces. A good strategy is to publish as much flattering content as possible, in as many media platforms as appropriate, updating as often as necessary to keep a positive image at the top of search engines and social media sites.