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March 24, 2011

PRSA Responds to Corporate Missteps in Social Media in New York Times Letter to the Editor

PRSA had a letter to the editor of the The New York Times published March 24, 2011 , in response to a March 17 New York Times advertising column on the potential perils of high-profile brands using social media without a well-planned strategy.

Letters: Corporate Missteps in Social Media

To the Editor:
When the Marketing Reach of Social Media Backfires” (Advertising column, March 16) highlighted some of the vast opportunities and potential perils social media afford individuals and brands. The examples from the Chrysler Group and Aflac of what can quickly go wrong and potentially sully a company’s reputation reinforced the golden rule of sustainable corporate trust: credibility matters.
What is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to manage, however, is balancing that credibility with the need for amplification of a message, which is why the use of celebrity brand endorsers has proliferated. There is a level of accountability that must exist within social media communications, just as there is within all offline marketing and advertising.
The expedient and decisive measures taken by Chrysler and Aflac in light of their recent online missteps, therefore, are commendable. Actions that are consistent, credible and ethical engender strong organizational reputations over time. In both cases, it appears that Chrysler and Aflac have kept this ethos intact even while traversing the sometimes confusing world of online marketing and social media.
Rosanna Fiske
Chair and CEO
Public Relations Society of America
New York, March 17, 2011

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