30 July 2014
Helen Westgate, Director and Founder

Responding to your critics online...

Tom Cruise


...the key to reputation management in 2014

There was a fascinating interview with LA film critic, Amy Nicholson, on Radio Four's Today Programme this morning about the impact of the internet on Tom Cruise's career.

Essentially, her view (as outlined in her new book Tom Cruise: Anatomy of an Actor) is that the access to the information and images that the world wide web now provides for the public has prevented stars such as Cruise from exerting the total control on their careers that they could impose before its arrival.

Images such as Cruise leaping onto Oprah's sofa can now be played again and again, repeated so often that the event is amplified to damaging effect.

Over the last few years, we have seen the same transition happening with the way businesses now communicate to their external audiences. Most have taken the leap and decided to take their communications online. They have then experienced the same dilution of controlled messaging. Any business that decides to start an online dialogue does exactly that – starts a dialogue which is two way.

What businesses (and Tom!) need to be clear about as they make this transition is that their messaging and content will inevitably be assessed and evaluated when it goes online – and not always positively!

A realistic view of the communications landscape in 2014 will help this process become less painful. An organisation's aim should always be that the majority of online messaging should be positive but there should always be an allowance for a small percentage of negative commentary too.

The important thing is to engage with negative commentary and respond with a perspective in favour of the organisation. Maintaining this all important dialogue and taking negative commentary head on is the key to successfully managing positive reputations online and one which, perhaps, Cruise should start considering.


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