Top 10 reputation crisis of 2010 – a recap!

Being Reputation Management Consultants,  Reputation Management, have come with our list of top 10 reputation crashes in the year that was! Being the festive season and all, we’re doing it as honors awarded to the great captains of Industries, firms, celebrities and brands that went through a reputation storm in 2010… Continue reading “Top 10 reputation crisis of 2010 – a recap!”

Mel Gibson reputation – Is the worst over?

As we mull over how Mel Gibson’s reputation, future plans and how even a comeback can materialize, he seems to have found some reprieve. Mel’s ex-wife has come out with a signed affidavit saying he was never abusive towards her or her children. This coming from a 28-year marriage does bring in some good tidings for the star.

However, there is still that question – “Will Mel Gibson go to jail?” to be dealt with and the legal teams are probably going to battle it out over extortion threats from Oksana Grigorieva and spousal abuse from Gibson being fought at length. From a celebrity crisis and damage control angle, Robyn Moore’s affidavit is like a God-sent for Gibson.

It’s almost certain that Hollywood will let things play out and wait for the outcome of the legal case for child custody. Whoopi Goldberg’s attempt at supporting her friend is frankly not enough, apart from the ‘racist’ tag Gibson also needs to fight his ‘misogynist’ and ‘abuser’ tag.

Like Tiger Woods who is now battling golfing trouble after his reputation debacle Mel Gibson will have to make a comeback that is so awe-inspiring that all’s forgiven in the name of art and cinema. Tiger Woods is well aware of this as well as he fumbles to get his groove back on the green.

Related post:

Reputation Management 2010 – a half year report!

Six months into 2010 and you realize the one thing that’s been recurring is big reputation crises. And how the mighty have fallen in reputation terms!! From Tiger Woods to Toyota worries, from BP oil spill crisis to Mel Gibson’s rants, from the Duchess of York scandal to the performance duds by the millionaire football stars, 2010 has brought its share of bad luck to haloed people and companies.

Reputation Management has never been this important and it’s sadly when a crisis happens that you actually tend to quantify reputation in terms of money. Reputation is indeed money and even if you argue that time is a healer, the business you lose in this period of crisis is never coming back to you.

The cool thing about Online Reputation Management (ORM) is that it encompasses PR, SEO reputation management, Branding and Crisis Management. You practically have your defense lined-up for you, ready for action. With ORM in place the bumpy ride to recovery from a crisis is largely smooth.

Finally by outsourcing ORM you actually get a whole team working for you round the clock. Being active on blog networks and social networking sites daily may not be possible when you have to go about your business. ORM goes a long way in protecting your reputation and brand online and should be part of your advertising or PR portfolio.

At Reputation Management we’ve been ranking reputation of celebrities and companies based on how they fare online and we’ve often been alarmed at the naiveté with which  online reputation has been handled. However,  there’s much to be done to change this and this is where we come in. From regular monitoring to highlighting positive stories to damage limitation and burying negatives ORM is not be ignored.

For nowadays anyone can be an investigative reporter- a citizen journalist with phone cameras and other gadgets and anyone’s a paparazzo and celebrities beware! These are times of sting operations, consumer forums, and review sites all as keen on reputations as we are.

So yes, the year 2010 seems to be going down history as a year that could well use some reputation management on its own and here’s hoping the next six months see companies and celebrities with sound ORM in place.

Tiger’s divorce settlement and reputation management

It seems that Tiger woods has a short memory, or so it appears by the current turn of events. After  the  numerous  flings of Tiger with many women stumbled out of this ace golfer’s cupboard, which was promptly followed by a much publicized rehab programme and a teary public apology- everything seems to be nothing short of a well managed stage show for the public now. Even though Tiger tried to be a loving dad on his daughter’s third birthday by bringing a charted jet load of toys to impress his family, his recent actions spoke otherwise. Even as Woods launched a final concerted attempt to win his family back, he’s been seen twice in recent days in the company of another blonde.

Just type in Tiger Woods in Google and the first thing that pops up is ‘divorce’, which clearly shows that things are far from rosy in his domestic front. His wife is reportedly  moving ahead with her divorce plans as she was said to be “violently angry” with him for  having exploited  his dead father  for commercial gain in his television advert for his sponsors Nike. The ad featured the beyond-the-grave voice of Tiger’s father Earl, who had a big role in shaping his career before his death in 2006.

As Woods was trying a desperate attempt to put his golfing career on the course, gossips about the impending  divorce settlement with his wife is doing the rounds. His wife is said to be demanding the ownership of the brand new £35-million home the couple have been building on the exclusive Jupiter Island, Florida.

Tiger is caught in a tight spot as his wife is also pushing ahead with the  full custody of their two children. The couple had  signed a prenup agreement for a pay-off to £13-million, however it is interesting to note that Woods is said to be willing to give Elin more than half of his £663 million fortune in return for  a lifetime confidentiality clause. Tiger will have to be wary of more wagging tongues that could spill out more spicy and untold stories of this talented golfer, who once grabbed the headlines for his stupendous personal achievements.

Tiger is playing a dangerous game and he may not have a second chance if he chooses to ignore his shattered image any further. The reputation rating of Tiger Woods, done by us at Reputation managementFor.Com, at the onset of his problems, still holds true as he has not succeeded or infact tried to regain his lost public image.

Twitter Monetization & the Reputation Management Angle

Twitter monetization began officially on April 13th 2010 and finally the Ad-free service is looking at promoted tweets and their resonance among tweeple to be the deciding factor in value. So this means according to Biz Stone on his blog,

Promoted Tweets will be clearly labeled as “promoted” when an advertiser is paying, but in every other respect they will first exist as regular Tweets and will be organically sent to the timelines of those who follow a brand. Promoted Tweets will also retain all the functionality of a regular Tweet including replying, Retweeting, and favoriting. Only one Promoted Tweet will be displayed on the search results page.

So deals have been made with Starbucks, Virgin America,  Sony Pictures, Red Bull etc and their tweets will soon be featured as promoted tweets.  Promoted Tweets end up right on top of a search pile so search for something like ‘coffee’ on twitter will take you to the promoted tweet by Starbucks right on top of the search result.

From what I see @Starbucks is certainly doing quite well with the resonance thing, with most promoted tweets being Re-tweeted by the hundreds. Mashable finds that Virgin America is capitalising on “Red hot Tweets” with their offers.

However its still only a day old and in a matter of time we could have a better picture as to how effective a Reputation Management Tool this can be in the future.

To tow the line of resonance of the promoted tweet and its effect on people… could Tiger Woods or Toyota actually use this as a feature for re-building reputation and PR?

Twitter has largely been based on the large amount of content that it has been highlighting through tweets. Content is clearly King for Twitter and for now promoted tweets only appear on top of searches of relevant searches and will remain there and not disappear into oblivion as new tweets come up.

So if Toyota were to go in for a promoted tweet offering free accessories for a Prius or even some useful information on the car call-back it can probably get more visibility being right on top of the search list. Interesting???

While copywriters and Twitter users conjure up the right phrases and set this new tool in motion, we here at Reputation Management feel there could be something here for ORM.

Early days yet but Twitter’s got our attention for sure and this could very well be an avenue to explore for effective crisis management and PR that comes under the purview of Online Reputation Management.

Tiger Woods Press conference & apology – Brand Tiger still deeply wounded!

Tiger Woods apology and press conference yesterday went off without a glitch except for a couple of nervous stops in the beginning. He tried to talk about everything a reporter would have wanted to question him. His mom was present and his wife’s family, he even thanked Accenture, and the golfing community for understanding the timing of his apology.

The read out speech asking for atonement, telling the Paparazzi to stay away from his family and saying he was sorry thrice was all very well.

In celebrity reputation management terms, Tiger did all that he needed to do, touching upon spirituality and Buddhism and his therapy and the millions of kids who idolized him – he said it all!

But I wasn’t moved, there were tears and he touched on all aspects, yet watching it one was left with questions of how it seemed only rehearsed.

  • This is a man who was an expert in leading a double life and perpetuating a holier-than-thou persona off the golf course.
  • The Tiger brand thrived on his presumed golden image – the star with no faults –  a star like no other.

The extent of the damage on the Tiger Woods brand to me seemed more evident yesterday in the public apology. Again we are not talking about the golfer Tiger Woods but the brand which projected him as the ideal on and off the field.

Tiger is definitely not out of the woods yet, with his problems or image, the public still feel cheated and only time and a phenomenal comeback in the game can really solve this.

Conclusion: For now this ‘mea culpa’ can be only termed as the tiniest step in rebuilding his brand. The golfing circuits need the Tiger brand back and up; after all he is the one who brings in the crowds!

Google Query Suggestions – Google Suggests Scam

Recently we have been contacted by companies being hit hard by Google Query Suggestions. If you are not sure what these are, when you start typing words into Google, it will come back with suggestions as you type. See example below:

Google Suggested QuerySo sounds harmless enough?  I am sure it was intended to be,  if you check out Google’s Query Suggestion page

Why it’s helpful

  • Rest your fingers.
    Need to do a big search on a tiny keyboard? Suggestions come in real-time, so typing [ great w ] and clicking ‘great wall of china’ is faster and easier than typing it out.
  • Catch a mistake.
    Did you mean:
    Melbourne Australia? Start searching for [ melborn ], say, and Google Suggest will offer more common spellings for what you might be trying to find.
  • Skip a page; save some time.
    If Google detects that a specific site is relevant to the search you’re typing, we’ll provide a link straight to it, so you don’t have to wait for the search results page. If a link is to a site in our adversiter network, it’ll appear in a colored box labeled ‘Sponsored Link.’
  • Repeat a favourite search.
    If you’re signed in to your Google Account and have Web History enabled, we may show some suggestions based on searches you’ve done in the past. You can tell a suggestion is from your history if it has a Remove
    link next to it.

Splitting the atom, scientists at first looked at this as a way to generate power efficiently, of course it didn’t take long for some people to look at how they can use it for weapons of mass destruction.   Guess what?  Some people are now looking at query suggestions as a weapon of mass destruction to a company’s reputation.

So how can this very innocent feature that google introduced become a company killer?  The search query is set off when when people start searching for specific keyword terms, so for example people searching for Olympics will start adding specific years.  Google picks up on this and starts to offer it as suggestions.

If you have a large number of customers and some of them have had a bad experience, then they may start looking for a way to complain and start searching terms like “Your Company Name + Complaints”, enough people start doing it and it can soon become a Google suggested query.   Even worse is someone could add a few negative comments about your company in a forum and before you know it not only is Google now making negative suggestions but also the negative forums are now showing up for your company name or brand quite often above your own site.  Look what happened to Tiger Woods in a very short time.

So it won’t take long for unscrupulous competitors to catching on to this and start seeding such search quires.   Once it takes hold it will be very difficult and costly to fix in both time and effort.

Another issues that can cause you problems is your business model, if you ask for money upfront people are incredibly suspicious.  We have had several companies approach us about this exact problem, a potential customer will type search terms like “Company Name + Scam” or “Company Name + Hoax” again it does not take many of the same searches to trigger Google’s suggested query and now you have a massive online reputation problem.  Follow this up with a few negative comments in a forum or a site like and it could cost you your business.

Make sure you are on top of you customer complaints procedure before issues get out of hand.  If you product is not up to scratch don’t be surprised if it does not take long for Google to pick up on this.  We have managed to help companies reputation online by introducing certain procedures to reduce and water down the impact once negative suggested queries started to effect their business.

Taking a proactive approach will help defend your company name, brands and reputation online, make sure you listen to customers and remember to show that you have.  A journalist cannot follow a story if you have shown you heard the problems and are addressing them.  If you bury your head in the sand then it will be a very costly exercise.

Tiger Woods Reputation- an accident!

When searching for ‘Tiger Woods’ on Google it didn’t bring up his official website, but something rather spicy to be precise.

Woods reputation has taken a beating no doubt, and now his announcement about indefinite leave from golf will further make matter worse. Companies and products that Woods endorse are caught sitting ducks. A rough estimates shows an already loss to incur is around $12 billion.

The positive reputation he has worked years to attain now shows above his official website.  Being a celebrity your reputation is always at the crossroads and anything can hit you.  Strangely in Mr. Woods’s case it was a (mysterious) accident.

It may be noted that before the accident Tiger Woods enjoyed 85% positive sentiments on social media. Interestingly a week post-accident it did not plunged to a very low either as a sudden impact.  This was the ideal time to capitalize and minimize the damage, if only Mr. Woods had believed in Reputation Management.

With no proper damage control plan in place it was all expected. Surprisingly the reaction from the Woods clubhouse has been too slow and hazy. Tiger should realize that ‘No press is tantamount to Bad press‘ and he took his own time to clear the air. Meanwhile internet and the social media websites were flooded with more negative comments thus creating its own crisis. Negative comments later jumped to 40% from 15%, while the positive sentiment was at an all time low of 14%.

This whole affair will cost the golfer $100 million a year in endorsement income. Too late for the Tiger to be out of the woods if only he knew- “It takes hundreds of good golf shots to gain confidence, but only one bad one to lose it” –  Jack Nicklaus .

Shashi Tharoor- badly in need of online reputation management!

Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for External Affairs is no stranger to social networking and is the highest followed person in India on Twitter. Tharoor in fact popularised Twitter in India to a great extent with his now controversial Tweets and was even named “Twitteroor” for his political gaffes as far as his political party’s stances were concerned.

The minister is intellectual, tech-savvy and popular with the masses and has 537,478 followers on Twitter when this post was written. The problem with Tharoor is that his Tweets are a source of both admiration and political uproar at the same time. Even as he endears himself to the youngsters, the geriatric members of his often sycophantic Congress party look at him as an up-start of sorts.

That Tharoor was in the initial stages a close rival to the UN Secretary-General post of Ban Ki Moon and that he has numerous books to his name all accord him a celebrity status. What I like about him the most is his constant attempts at making his countrymen laugh at themselves. Here he is back in the news for tweeting against his own government’s tightening of tourist visas to India. This is what he tweeted –

Dilemma of our age: tough visa restrictions in hope of btr (better) security or openness & (and) liberality to encourage tourism & goodwill? I prefer latter.

When asked about the economy class of Air India he famously tweeted –

“absolutely, in cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows!”

The slang was lost on most people in India and when he added the holy cows all hell broke loose.

That he has huge plans for his country and is not afraid to speak his mind and even against his own government makes him stand apart. But then these days how the mighty fall ( Tiger Woods) and before you know it, courting controversy can finally catch up. The minister sure needs some expert reputation management for continuing his work well and to be in the good books of the old war horses in the Congress party.

Being a busy man he needs the services of an army of experts to help him with online reputation management and being a celebrity and a politician the need only magnifies manifold.

Google’s real-time search integration – Need for reputation management just went off the charts!

Google’s real time search integration into searches is for the time being giving its 6 minutes of fame to anyone who is active on Twitter. Go out there blog about anything topical and before you know BAM you’re in the first five on Google news searches.

Google’s real time search integration into searches is for the time being giving its 6 minutes of fame to anyone who is active on Twitter. Go out there blog about anything topical and before you know BAM you’re in the first five on Google news searches.

The good thing about this is that you can really get a lot of people reading what you want them to read. So if you’re a Tiger Woods you should be out there with expert reputation management guys telling the world that you messed up big time, that you’re seeing a top shrink to handle your “addiction” and that you plan to be back on top of the game in 2010.

The bad thing about this real-time search integration that Google has begun is that, if you have a disgruntled customer, employee, spouse, agent, patient or fan you could be in a blitz of bad press within minutes. Scary? Definitely!

The call for reputation management has just turned into a shout. You need to have daily PR out there as defenders with positive news and content. It’s a minefield out there, more so now.