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NEWS


I don’t mind admiting it: I love social media. I’m prety active both in posting content and in replying to others on various platforms. My favourite is Twiter which, while oſten


resembling a war zone of opinions and views not for those with a faint heart, can also be inspiring, entertaining and enlightening. But social media is not without its dangers.


Steve Dunne CHIEF EXECUTIVE, DIGITAL DRUMS


Do you damage your employer by voicing your views on social?


Many reports by experts, institutions and commentators say social media can negatively impact your self-esteem, break concentration, damage sleep and create tensions in relationships between friends, families and colleagues.


Personal views But the other day, while talking with clients about prospective speakers for a conference, I was presented with a view I had not considered. Tat is, do your personal views and comments on social media impact perceptions of the brand you work for? Even if you clearly say views are your own? I would imagine, if you are a junior manager,


that commenting on Brexit, government policies or political parties is OK. I suspect few consumers, suppliers or business partners would link your views to their perception of the brand you work for. But what if you are the chief executive, managing


director, marketing director or commercial director and you are uncompromising in your political views? What if you are the public face of your brand and your views are diametrically opposed to those of a significant segment of its target audience? Does that impact customers’ perception of the brand? For decades, marketers have known consumers


select brands they consider reflect their self-image; that the brands they wear or consume are a means of


self-expression, a sort of lifestyle beacon to the world. Car brands, clothes brands, cosmetic brands and


yes, travel brands, actively pursue this concept in marketing and advertising. But if a senior manager, or the public face of the brand, is out of step, does that work against the brand?


Conundrum for brands One of the oldest mantras in sales is that people buy people. No mater how strong the product, if you don’t like the salesperson, the sale is more difficult. Does a celebrity chef or sports commentator


airing their politics on social media impact their wider business interests? It’s a moot point, but perhaps one worth considering. Unfortunately, people don’t see the world as a


series of silos where what you say, do or believe in one area is separate from who you work for in another. Now, I am aware this line of thought is not


without its dangers. What about freedom of speech, different views and healthy debate? If everyone talked only about safe topics, social media would be terribly bland. But it is a conundrum for brands. Social media guidelines for staff could be one option, but might be seen as draconian. It may boil down to common sense: not being


too rigid in one’s views; resisting the temptation to debate personal views; and accepting that not everyone agrees. Or, we acknowledge that while rank has its


privileges, sharing political views and opinions on public platforms may not be one of them.


Read more columns by Steve Dunne: go.travelweekly.co.uk/comment


18


24 OCTOBER 2019


travelweekly.co.uk


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