Why are companies paying $50,000 to have their reputation attacked?

Why are companies paying $50,000 to have their reputation attacked?

reputation-attackNow here’s a new trend in the world of online reputation management: corporations are paying consultants upwards of $50,000 to have their online reputations attacked.

Kind of.

They’re actually paying for simulated social media attacks, so that their team can prepare themselves to handle any negative tweets, posts, and feedback.

“We wanted to practice in advance of the game, which doesn’t often happen in social media,” said Jaime Stein, senior manager of social media at ING Direct, who oversees a staff of four. Mr. Stein said he told the HootSuite team to be “brutal” and not hold back in the drill.

“Nice redesign,” came a snarky tweet from a HootSuite staffer during the session. “I could have done that in my sleep. I’m sure you spent millions too.”

Practice is good, but I’d argue that you could get the same benefit by simply sitting in a conference room for a couple of hours and just have your team come up with an array of insults and then practice the replies. Apparently, some companies have money burning a hole in their pockets…

Polpeo, the crisis-simulation arm of British social-media company Emoderation, charges between $20,000 and $40,000 for a similar session and use of the company’s dummy social-media platforms. Public-relations firm Weber Shandwick, a unit of Interpublic Group, offers use of its own software, FireBell, as well as a mock-crisis session for about $50,000 and up, depending on the scope of the drill.

There is a cheaper way to make sure you don’t become reputation roadkill. Attend my keynote at ClickZ Live New York this week–networking passes are free, and get you access to all keynote presentations. Or, cheaper yet, pick up a copy of my new book for just $6.99! 😉

(Thank to @Ed for the tip!) 

ByAndy Beal

Andy Beal is The Original Online Reputation Expert™. A bestselling author of two critically-acclaimed reputation management books, a keynote speaker at dozens of events, and brand consultant experience with thousands of individuals and companies.

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