The pictures and posts came like a quick silver German Army attack. The kinds of attacks that dropped bombs on London during the second world war and every body including the Queen had to run for cover. The first picture hit showed the billionaire in a cuddling state with a daughter of Eve. As the picture smashed the well curated image of the billionaire, talk started like it is want to.
But just as we were relaxing, another image was dropped showing another man with the same shirt and suggesting that the first one with the billionaire could have been photoshopped.
This second image went very far in discrediting the first one. But the attackers were determined. Before you finished your bowl of breakfast cereal, your phone is assaulted with another image. This time more daring with the billionaire’s rear end in full view. I loved the environment though as it seemed that this was a wonderful morning after and the billionaire was busy on the phone checking his business interest and the young lady was playing with her gadget and unwittingly took a picture of his bum.
Under other circumstances, this would have been a magic romantic moment, but the picture was released and all hell was broken lose. I hear a third one from yet another lady was also released. I haven’t had the good fortune of seeing it but I hear it is just as revealing.
Now the aim of this write up is not just the effortless invasion of privacy that social media now exposes all of us to but the headache currently faced by image custodian and brand experts in the current milieu.
In the years past, the Corporate Communications cum PR Experts job was cut out. All he needed to do was build relationships with Editors who were physical and finite. Media platforms had thrusts and vision so you knew what each stood for and as such could design your PR policy or branding with any of these publications in mind.
Strong relationships both above the table and below the table were built and this ensured a good night’s rest for the brand custodian at all times. This had its positives and negatives as what was churned out were mostly controlled and artificial. The public never really saw the entities or public figures in their natural state and this led to some wrong public perception and made people especially in the investment world make investment calls that came to naught.
Today, the brand custodian is facing his worst nightmare. He is being buffeted by literarily a swarm of bees. Social media has removed the borders, no more controls and players are now invincible. Nobody to catch and no conduit to push doctored corporate messages. The Guild of Editors, the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria and all other media pressure groups have been weakened and thrown into the rubbish bean. Everybody is now an Editor; everybody is now a reporter and everybody who has N100 data is now a Publisher.
The brand custodian is in deep trouble. How does he protect and preserve his brand’s image from the constant onslaught of bees who really have nothing to lose by causing mischief.
The case of the billionaire and FCMB gives us very powerful examples of the mayhem that is out there. The billionaire is well known for curating his image. He spends literarily billions annually to maintain the image he has built for himself. Traditional media has been whipped to order as no negative story can be carried.
But when you see the largest of traditional media reaching a paltry 35,000 daily readership and you now compare this with the millions reached in a second by a teenage girl who couldn’t care if he was the richest man in the world or the next mallam on the street you begin to see why we have to surrender.
How do you engage this headless and invincible market? How do you continue to protect your brand and keep pushing a positive story when there are millions out there who fueled by the hunger for sleaze and exciting stories of sex, gossip and the rest are all but ready to push that button and spread a story.
This is a major task for the brand custodian because we are really deep in the dawn of the social miscreant. Miscreants who have unfettered access to the very raw power that is social media with no real barriers of entry and exit.
I pity the brand custodian. I really do.
Author: Joseph Edgar…
Articles published in our Graffiti section are strictly the opinion of the writers and do not represent the views of Ripples Nigeria or its editorial stand.
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