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John Funnell

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You Are Who Google Says You Are

Every major organization has suffered defamatory postings online

If you want to know what impression your brand is making, there is no need to send out thousands of students armed with clipboards – just simply Google yourself. You are who Google says you are after all. This has been known in the B2C environment for some time as brands fight to control consumer feedback, sharing the good and hiding the constructive.

B2B giants have (so far) been naive to the transparency of the new digital world and are now suffering the consequences, rushing crisis communication to cover up the cracks.

Previous efforts include corporate leviathans leading themselves down a path of false security, closing the doors on social media in the workplace, failing to consider that anyone can have an anonymous online voice through FaceBook, Twitter, blogs, Word Press and even Ulitzer. Big businesses must wise up to this fact and protect themselves.

Most slander occurs across social media networks, community websites and blogs, but the real damage occurs across search engine results pages. Branded search queries could deliver results that could preclude your organization from making that sale.

Every major organization has suffered defamatory postings online – it has become a necessary evil of modern success (http://killercoke.org/ ). There are several ways to deal with this however, and in my experience creating a good product with unrivalled customer service and ROI will always quash any complaint.

But if your organisation is already at the point where your brand is out of control it is best to counteract immediately by creating a message of your own that would be identified as more relevant and useful for the particular offending search query.

Luckily, securing B2B search results is far easier than in the highly competitive B2C realm. Primarily because B2B purchasing is a lengthy process including many stakeholders and not regularly achieved online, so innovative sales techniques tend to revolve around traditional offline methods than evolving online channels compared to that of the retail sector.  And if caught immediately, changes on existing online real-estate in SEO can make significant and immediate changes.  However, B2B organizations do not know how commanding their longstanding websites are in Google search, so they are slow to capitalise on the opportunity until it is too late.

Online Reputation management is tough. It requires patience, time and energy and a willingness to run a reactionary strategy of ‘trial by error’ to find out what works for your organisations, refine and define next steps. I must stress that such online masking is not a silver-bullet solution.

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John Funnell has worked in online media for over ten years, after achieving his First Class BSC Hons Degree (BBC Sponsored), John won Bos 18-21 Princess Trust Entrepeneur of the year at 21, setting up Clean Living Records Ltd (including www.BeatReview.com) with great success having many acts that charted in Europe and Canada. After selling the business John looked for a new challenge and joined GDS International, having a successful career in sales and Delegate acquisition, he worked up to Event Director EMEA, forging contacts with some of the biggest technology names in the world, this lead to John having a lead role in the creation of MeettheBoss.com and MeettheBoss.tv – the worlds largest business IPTV channel. John then took over as Marketing and Communications Director and ran a multifaceted global Marketing team for GDS International in New York, Sydney, Kuala Lumper and the UK.. John joined Global in 2011 with the challenge of supporting its growth by developing a solid Marketing foundation through various Digital, PR and brand initiatives.