Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
9 April 2018
Zuckerberg, Facebook and brand repair
What to do if you’re Mark Zuckerberg? Your lifelong baby, Facebook, stabs itself in the neck by selling customer data. You’re testifying before Congress in what’s sure to be a fiery grilling. And millions of customers are opting out of your gigantic social media platform.
Well, first you apologize. Which Zuckerberg has, although many think not nearly enough. If the David Fincher film, The Social Network, is any indication, Zuckerberg doesn’t come off as the contrite type. But you bet you’ll see him backsliding like a Michael Jackson moonwalk tomorrow.
Facebook now finds itself in desperate need of brand repair. The key to repairing your brand is looking at your brand clearly and fixing permissions that create barriers.
Right now, what’s the major barrier facing Facebook growth? The belief that the social media platform hoodwinks its users. It lies to them. It cares less about its users’ privacy than making money. (Which is, of course, true.)
“Brand repair is dealing with what is, not what should be. Everything is on the table. Including Zuckerberg resigning.”
Letting the 87 million users know if their data has been compromised is the first step, as Facebook is doing today. (Ironically, Facebook could sport its heaviest traffic of all time today.) That’s transparency, which is always a part of brand repair. (Also, the timing is convenient for Zuckerberg. Just the day before he testifies. “Look! We letting everybody know!”)
Zuckerberg must do more, consider resigning
But Facebook must dig deeper to repair its brand. Looking at its brand with clear eyes means there are no sacred cows. Just because something works in the past doesn’t mean it does now. Brand repair is dealing with what is, not what should be. Everything is on the table. Including Zuckerberg resigning.
Sometimes, brand repair doesn’t mean a complete overhaul. Just a new promise that the brand follows exactly. But that means having extreme discipline in fulfilling that brand promise.
Other times, though, a complete overhaul is needed. Facebook lives in that space. Too much of the public trust has been broken. Sure, there are millions of users who haven’t left it and won’t. A number far greater than those who have split.
But Facebook concerns itself with more than the status quo. It’s the behemoth looking to gobble up everything. It wants to be a part of everyone’s lives.
That means it must do more than simply promise transparency. It must live it. The transparency it’s showing today must reach across the entire Facebook culture.
Without that, facing an irate Congress is the least of Zuckerberg’s problems.
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