Top Level Briefing

With the growth of the internet, uptake of broadband and the adoption of free and easy to use publishing tools we have also seen the rise of the prosumer, people who use the internet to share their views on products and services.

Increasingly they choose to share these views on social networks and peer review sites. This is significant because studies show people trust people like themselves online more than they trust companies. In other words their opinions count.

We know that people use search engines to look for information and to research products and services. Google and Microsoft are committed to returning relevant and personal results and recently started including social networks, including Twitter and Facebook, in the organic search results.

This means your customers' online opinions of your products and services will increasingly impact on the reputation and ultimately, profitability of your business.

The Worst Case Scenario

Baggage handlers working for United Airlines broke Dave Carroll's guitar. The airline was slow to respond in any meaningful way and failed to understand the online threat. The result was a YouTube video with more than five millions views.

You may not have a business the size of a national carrier but all it takes is a disgruntled customer with a web cam and a bit of creativity to drag the reputation of an unwary company through the dirt.