Transparency is key when editing a Brand’s perception online

The Independent raised an interesting debate over the editing of a brand’s perception online by PR agencies in their article yesterday.

Portland Communications, a reputable PR firm, was revealed to have edited Wikipedia pages that linked their client to a negative association. Portland removed the reference of Stella Artois from the ‘Wife Beater’ Wikipedia page and from Stella’s own page in an attempt to help rid their client of this detrimental association. However, when users realised there had been a change, they reverted it back. Outraged that a PR agency had altered the content they even wrote a blurb about it on Portland’s own Wikipedia page in retaliation.

But surely Portland has every right to alter these pages, as after all Wikipedia itself states it is “the free encyclopaedia that anyone can edit”.
Portland Communications acted professionally – they were transparent, editing the pages with the username Portlander10  which they had previously used to set up their own Wikipedia page.

If Limelight were ever found in a situation where they were being linked to a negative attribute, I would want to defend my brand whether it was myself who edited the damaging link, a member of the team or even another company. Everyone has a right to input into what has been said about them online. For this reason, even if it is an organisation voicing the opinion, PR agencies can make an impact online as long as the company is acting transparently.

Susanna Simpson

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