A client disclosure grading system for Twitter

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There was an interesting discussion doing the rounds on Twitter yesterday sparked by Arik Hanson about client disclosure.

A few people got involved, including the PRSA’s Keith Trivitt and one of the issues that came up was the complexity associated with disclosure.

For example, one of our clients is Coca-Cola, Europe.

Now, when we are actively doing work for that particular client I will stringently disclose my association with the brand and any associated activity by using a “(cl)” in tweets, status updates etc.

But, Coca-Cola is one of the biggest brands in the world.

When someone at the Coca-Cola HQ in Atlanta puts a story our about how they intend to use mobile more in 2013 that is interesting to me as an observer.

Let’s say I want to tweet that out and share it with my community, do I disclose my affiliation with the brand?

To be on the safe side, I probably would, but I am no more connected to that piece of news than anyone else.

There are a bunch of other examples where affiliations with brands aren’t an simple as a “(cl)” disclosure statement.

I also feel a bit uncomfortable about attaching a (cl) to a tweet about a project that has been activated by someone else, especially if that project is something really clever or amazing – does my (cl) inadvertently imply I had something to do with that idea? This brings up another ethical debate.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, here’s a system I’m going to trial over the next few weeks and thought others might want to consider it too.

The client disclosure grading system

(CL1) aka Client Level 1 – I’m going to use this when I or the agency I work with has a direct involvement in the client subject matter being communicated e.g. active projects that I / we are working on

(CL2) aka Client Level 2 – I’m going to use this one when a client affiliated with us is actively promoting something but our involvement is minimal e.g. a new product launch but one we aren’t directly involved in publicising

(CL3) aka Client Level 3 – I’m going to use this one in the example I gave earlier where I brand I / we might be affiliated with has done something cool or interesting that I’ve discovered without any ‘inside knowledge’ or agenda. In other words, a ‘related’ client mention.

I have no idea how perfect / imperfect this will be until I test it out.

It would be hugely beneficial if you could share your feedback with me and the people who visit this blog via the comments section below.

And, feel free to test this system out too – it might trigger some ideas for something we can all adopt down the road.


1 Comment

  • Reply May 5, 2011

    Claire Dunford

    Interesting idea Adam. The area around client promotion can be very tricky to navigate. I do worry sometimes that we're so intent in being completely open and honest about relationships with brands that sometimes we end up overthinking the situation. So I'll be interested to see how your trial goes.

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