Let’s think of ‘ the world of Web 2.0’ as a musical… Your keyboard is the stage and YOU the performer. It is a world where every opinion you possess can be LIT UP can be spoken (or belted)… through a megaphone… to an audience… without even opening your mouth…? Without any qualification…?
Social media platforms that exist in this fast moving world give the everyday individual power to speak out!
Placing the megaphone in the hand of the individual seems so positive… Unless you’re one of the worlds biggest organisations such as BP... then it can be risky business!
BRANDJACKING essentially describes the hijacking of a brand or organisation’s profile using social media tools. It is an issue that exists because ANY individuals have this ability create profiles and accounts using any title so long as it does not already exist.
BP were ‘brandjacked’ when a fake Twitter account entitled “@BPglobalPR” was created. The impostor behind the account started posting and responding to tweets.
The following tweets, while hilarious, trashed BP’s image and temporarily damaged their image.
These tweets did not reflect the values of BP and represented poor crisis management during the BP Deep Oil spill in 2010.
The social media tragedy was a result of a number of things that could have been avoided.
Firstly, not only did the problem occur in the first place, but the joker behind the crisis remained active for an entire week. He was using even using BP’s name and logo. I have to ask: Where were BP’s crisis management team? Accessing and shutting down the problem in a timely manner could have been achieved if the company had employed someone to monitor information surrounding their own organisation.
Secondly, in only 10 hours @BPglobalPR had already escalated to 16,500 followers and in 24 hours received 26,800 followers.
And thirdly, the fake Twitter account visually appeared more realistic than the fake one.
In order to avoid brandjacking in consumer PR, organisations must consistently and constantly monitor information that involves their brand. This will ensure a fast crisis response is taken to SHUT DOWN the problem.
This BP case is an example of why this is so vital. I advise you read these examples that prove other organisations who have been victims of brandjacking.
Here is a useful link that elicits how brandjacking leads to BAD PR.