Nick Sharples was speaking at PRWeek’s Crises in a Wired World conference at the Grange City Hotel on Tuesday.
He said the new Google application provided people ‘with the opportunity to cybersquat on someone’s page’ by writing comments on any page on any website that cannot be removed.
He suggested that brands buy their own Sidewiki, and populate the top section with information. This means ‘any nasty comments’ will be pushed down to the second page of the site. Monitoring tool Radian 6 monitors Sidewiki.
He also advised PROs to encourage other colleagues in a firm to quickly alert them to a potential crisis. His press office has set up a relationship with Sony’s customer service agents – ‘they are most likely to get an early indication that there’s a problem’. He has trained them in what calls could potentially make a damaging story and encouraged them to call ‘my number or my PR team at any time of the day or night if they think there is a problem that could be a reputational risk’.
He also added that the ongoing crisis dilemma is 'whether to respond to a crisis early and tell people there’s a problem, or to keep quiet but guarantee a more serious crisis if word gets out’.
He said the balance swung in favour of responding in three situations: ‘If an image or video of your issue appears on You Tube, Twitter or similar sites, if your crisis involves a government regulator or official body, and if your crisis is happening in the English language.’