How to Kill a Nice Brand – The Business Daily Way

Do you remember back when The Business Daily Africa was launched?  I was happy to see that we finally had a good quality business newspaper and I bought it enthusiastically.  I especially loved that, from inception, they had a very strong online presence.  They did everything right, it seems.  In fact, I had predicted that it would grow into one of the best and most respected business papers in this part of the world.  Arguably, it already is.  They built the brand well. However, they’re now destroying their nice brand with equal zeal.

Two cases in point:
My target of vitriol is the headline story on the Business Daily of October 7, 2008, titled “Internet theft hits a new high” Naturally I was attracted to this story because I am an avid Internet user and a promoter of its potential as a business tool. Considering the very serious nature of the paper’s allegation, I expected a fact-laden article with detailed testimonies, statistics, and warnings. Instead what I read was a vacuous, sensational, and rambling article that relied on unsubstantiated claims, wildly inaccurate headlines, false syllogisms, and a lack of understanding of the internet, internet banking and banking in general.” From Startups in Kenya: Literary hacks at Business Daily.
The Business Daily is not a well run paper. This particular article should never have been published unless they’re shedding their “Professionally done Business Paper” image. If you read the article carefully, you will notice subtle nuances that suggest the writer is not Kenyan, or at least doesn’t usually live here. Personally, I think he hails from the UK or thereabouts.

What does this mean? Two things:
1. The Business Daily sources articles from freelance writers. Nothing wrong with this, of course.
2. The article was a shameless cut-and-paste by some lazy editor who trusts this particular freelance writer so much that he didn’t bother to read the article fully.” From Kikulacho: Hating The Business Daily.
I don’t know when it started, but I think that The Business Daily is turning into something it never intended to become.  This, to me, demonstrates the easiest way to kill a good brand: negative publicity.  Negative publicity has always been a problem but in the age of the internet, it can mean a quick and vicious death fueled by the viral nature of the internet.  For example, one person writes pure hate about your product, another picks up on it, and before you know it anyone who googles you can see nothing but negative reviews and hate for your product.
When you’re hit with negative online publicity, the worst thing you can do is do nothing about it.  In publishing shoddy and suspect content, the Business Daily is contributing to its fall.  It makes it worse by doing nothing about it.  If you work for the Business Daily or you are simply interested in online reputation management, read this: “Customer Service and Reputation Management the Twitter Way: A Case Study.”  That article will give you an idea of how online reputation management should work: it should be fast, genuine and consistent.

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  1. It’s hard work to build a brand/a reputation. Companies start shinning and they think “We’ve made it!” They 4get that making that name 4themselves is just the beginning and the real work lies ahead in maintaining that name and topping their best performance!

    Love this piece.

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