Managing Your Brand in Online Forums: Damage Control

October 15th, 1998

Seminar by

Discussion forums in the forms of Usenet “newsgroups”, email-based “lists” and Web site “virtual communities” can be a powerful tool for branding. However,
seldom are companies really “in control” of these online forums. The tide can
quickly turn against your company: one solitary message triggering a flood of
negative comments from disgruntled users. One doesn’t have to be “on the Net”
to suffer the effects of negative branding on online communities. In one of
the most powerful demonstrations of the influence that Usenet wields over large
corporations, the “Pentium bug” P.R. fiasco stemmed from a college math professor’s
posting to several discussion groups that he discovered a calculation flaw in
Intel’s Pentium chip. Learn proactive and reactive techniques for dealing with
negative posts, how innocent company postings can backfire, participating vs.
moderating.