Working your Online Brand #1 of 6: Protecting Right

Disclaimer: This series will not teach you a one size fits all approach because it does not exist. however, follow the basic concepts and you may learn a thing or two for that time where you may just need it.

In the 4th quarter of 2012, a popular Nigerian comedian put up a post ridiculing  a telecoms multinational, a bank, a popular english soccer team and one of the new blackberry range of handsets. Interesting enough, none of these organisations took concrete steps to manage the situation in any manner – choosing to let the tweet go unnoticed. THE RESULT:  Today, that has become the most shared tweet from Nigeria (earning 2,200+ Retweets and almost 1000 favorites from his profile alone). This tweet has been further recreated and shared by other influential individuals in various forms online, on other social networks, as mobile wallpapers and even bbm messages. Newer jokes continue to sprout from it daily and that single is still shared around 10times on a daily basis on twitter alone.

What does this mean? If you don’t actively and aggressively take steps to protect your brand whilst retaining respect of the online community, who will? The ‘bad Guyses’ like our comedian. However, there is a thin line between actively protecting your online brand from reputation eroding incidences like this and being simply rude.

 Here’s another interesting case…

In the second week of 2013, two teams (one hockey and the other, American football) in Dallas, USA got into a twitter spat. What happened and what can be learnt from this?

The American football team, NFL Cowboys of Dallas whilst putting up a series of tweets to its half a million followers, made light of the prolonged professional Hockey lockout and in doing so, took a jibe at the city’s hockey team. The ‘offensive tweet’ from the DallasCowboys – “DallasCowboys: Similarly in the category of nobody-cares…the NHL is back!”

The REPLY: The hockey team (Dallas Stars) simply responded the next day with this tweet (in orange) 

@dallasstars: At least our #9 got the job done….. RT:” @dallascowboys: Similarly in the category of nobody-cares…the NHL is back!”” 

(A brief background: the Dallas Stars once won the biggest hockey championship cup – the Stanley cup in 2009, led by their iconic number 9. However, the Dallas Cowboys have a quarterback who wears a number 9 Jersey but is known for messing up in big games)

This tweet from @dallastars was an instant hit garnering up to 14k retweets. (MORAL: More often than not, the best way to deal with a bully is by standing up for yourself.)

The AFTERMATH: the Cowboys deleted the tweet and apologized for the inappropriate tweet (in their words) – calling the post an accident (as usual).

[ @DallasStars: Apology accepted“@dallascowboys@DallasStars our sincere apologies for the inappropriate tweet posted accidentally. Good luck this season]

In their magnanimity, the Stars accepted but… guess what? The diss of the Cowboys was left on their timeline on twitter. Well Played, I think.

How will you categorise their (The Dallas Stars) response?

  1. Interesting
  2. Childish
  3. Entertaining
  4. An overreaction
  5. Very professional

I am of the opinion that the response could not have been more appropriate for such a low-blow of a tweet from the Dallas Cowboys. That’s how to protect your brand online – but it MUST be done with utmost caution whilst earning respect for yourself and maybe, ridicule for the antagonist.

On a final note, a couple of lessons…

  • Pick your fights carefully
  • Research your opponent
  • Craft the perfect (mostly unemotional) response and if need be, seek approver from your supervising officer or client (for community managers) or simply flag the comment
  • deliver the killer blow with stealth and grace
  • don’t be drawn into argument (at least, not all the time) and esure you keep an eye monitoring feeds – yours, the tweet’s, the opponent’s and secondary networks of both parties.

  • Most important, always have a backup management plan if things ever go bad.

Responsible Brand management goes beyond the ‘knee on the ground’ (always appearing subservient) approach. There are times when the fight needs to be taken to the ‘barbarians’ – as I choose to call them. With the explosion of mobile devices (smart and the not-so-smart), you are increasingly faced (as an individual or organisation) with such situations. how you manage it is ultimately your choice.

How will you rather have your brand viewed?


This post was written by O’tega Ogra ‘il cicero’. O’tega is a partner, Stupidity Management Consultants with a goal to rid the world of stoopid ‘uns. With over 6 years of top-level  experience in corporate and marketing communications, brand strategy, crisis communications, PR & digital marketing – managing and consulting for individuals, local & international brands in a variety of industries, O’tega makes it a point to always remember to add another +1 to his age every 365(6) days.


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