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Brands in the Digital Age

Tsuyoshi Takemura

EVP & Managing Director

BCW Burson Cohn & Wolfe

Tsuyoshi.Takemura@bcw-global.com

Brands in the Digital Age

How can corporate brands be protected? In the realm of PR, there is a particularly notable phenomena these days - new type of risks borne out of the diversification of communication tools such as SNS and digital media. Brands need to find new solutions in an age where such risks are always changing...

For example, one newly emerging risk is the phenomenon of “part-time job terrorism.” This threat often takes the form of video clips of pranks, which are shared on SNS by part-time employees in an attempt to damage their employers’ corporate images. Then there are unintentional errors committed by brand representatives, which are more dangerous than ever thanks to the magnifying power of social media. One such crisis occurred when the official Twitter account of a certain theme park wished followers “A Very Merry Un-commemorable Day,” on the 70th anniversary of the day of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. The brand promptly got flamed. Or consider the headache that occurred when the CEO of an industrial giant stated during an interview for digital media that he thinks “willingly hiring women will improve boss-subordinate communication”; he was swiftly criticized on the internet for his blatant gender bias. There is an abundance of cases like these.

It is important, therefore, that PR activities are carefully designed with risks of the Digital Age fully taken into consideration in order to protect corporate brands.