I cannot take credit for that title – it was coined by someone on our marketing team. So, Tricia, Alex and Sheri – here’s to you.
Our marketing team was giving a presentation about social marketing a few weeks ago, and used the term Faux Perot to represent all those people impersonating Ross Perot or our company. Officially, it’s called brandjacking, but I like Faux Perot better.
I have to write about this today, because it’s extremely timely. I know that I told you that social marketing is so powerful because people trust their online friends and advisors – to quote a bit of fact, Josh Bernoff, Forrester analyst said that 60% of people trust online consumer reviews written by people they have never met. However, what do you do when someone is posing as an official from your company or using your brand online?
The most recent story is of “Janet” who created the Twitter profile of ExxonMobilCorp and posed as an official company representative. For three days, Janet answered questions about the directions of the company – which with today’s oil crisis, you can only imagine was quite a lively discussion. Exxon is the most recent in a list of companies which have been brandjacked – a list of other examples can be found on Jeremiah Owyang’s blog (another Forrester analyst…boy, they are smart). Jeremiah also posted bits of his conversation with Allen Jeffers, official spokesperson of Exxon Mobil. By the way, Jeremiah can also be found at twitter.com/jowyang…yes, all roads lead back to Twitter.
The lesson here is that companies can no longer choose whether or not to monitor their brand online. Social media is not something that can be ignored – people are no doubt using your logo, your name, your commercials and your taglines online. They can be doing good, like encouraging viral marketing of your latest SuperBowl commercial. Or, they can be doing major harm, like Janet.