Being ‘too clever’ puts reputations on the line too

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Learning is a funny thing.

But more often than not, it is anything but fun.

I don’t mean that in a negative way, but you tend to learn more from making or being involved in errors as opposed to sailing through things without bumps in the road.

The marketing and communications industry is going through one of its biggest ever learning phases right now thanks to the continued evolution of digital media channels and the popularity of the participatory social media environment.

Over the last few months I’ve become an increasingly cautious communicator, which goes against my natural instinct of trying things and throwing caution to the wind (within reason).

The primary reason is a simple one: Reputation.

Not my personal one (a very secondary thing), but the reputations of the organisations I work with or would like to work with.

While the digital space has opened up so many new ways to communicate and engage with audiences the pitfalls are significant too.

One of the things I think we, as communicators, need to potentially do more of is (drum roll) ‘do less’.

Bringing this too life…

  • Just because you can easily aggregate relevant content doesn’t mean it is the right play every time.
  • Just because you can directly reach out and communicate with your detractors doesn’t mean it will cure all your problems.
  • Just because you can have a YouTube channel doesn’t mean you actually have the need for one. 
  • Just because open-source technology makes virtually anything possible doesn’t mean using it for the sake of using it.
  • And just because you can add fancy widgets and plug-ins to web pages, doesn’t mean you are automatically adding value. In fact, you are more likely to be creating a potential reputational risks and damage as we’ve seen on so many occasions in recent times.
Communicators and marketers have always struggled with the balance between being creative and innovative while playing the role of brand guardian.

While organisations are increasingly on the look out for that little piece of ‘magic’ that separates them from their competitors, there’s a lot to be said for being magically balanced too.

Whaddya reckon?

Are the limitless digital / social possibilities a gift or a curse?

Do you think you have had to alter your approach more than usual because of the uncertain nature of participatory media?

Or, is it like any growing phase, and maturation will happen in due course?

Adam

COMMScorner.com is the blog from Adam Vincenzini which focuses on social media and PR. Connect with Adam on Twitter or subscribe to his blog.

1 Comment

  • Reply March 13, 2011

    Tracey Jefferies

    I think the limitless digital/social possibilities can be both a gift and a curse. I would take a few steps back and suggest we all need to remember the marketing basics. All communications must be relevant & targeted and in line with the overall objectives of the company/organisation. As you quite rightly state, just because we ‘can’, doesn’t mean we ‘should’. In addition, the time element of any digital/social medium should not be overlooked (as is so often the case in my experience of working with clients). You might have discovered the perfect social media avenue, but if you don’t put sufficient thought, time and effort into the exercise it could well backfire.

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