How Fragile is Reputation

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The recent closure of the News of the World is an example of how quickly brands that are unmasked on social media can lose their reputation and brand value.  Where previously a brand could use a considerable marketing budget to drown out any negative voices, now as Interbrand puts it “people take to Twitter and Facebook to dismantle all the hard work and equity a brand has built up in a matter of hours”.  

But if your brand has wrongly suffered and lost its reputation can you ever be properly compensated for a ruined reputation?

I came across this disturbing story about Elle MacPherson’s IP strategist.

Mary-Ellen Field was a successful IP Strategist until her career was abruptly ended following stories about Elle in the News of the World.  She was a victim of phone hacking and at that time did not know what we now know, so had no way to fight back.

She is currently suing News Corporation in a bid to have her name cleared.

The IP Finance article Civil Action for Phone Hacking: How Much Is It Worth has an interesting overview of the civil actions available to victims. 

Interestingly Mary-Ellen has so far refused a settlement, so it may prove to be a case that leads to a court decision.  If so, I’ll be watching with interest.