BofA Gets Brandjacked

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    Would you be ready to respond?

    Google Plus Pages for businesses and brands are barely a week old, and already the neophyte social network appears to have its first identity crisis: Someone has created a Google Plus Page for Bank of America trashing the nation’s largest bank with a series of mocking photos, images and other posts, according to Reuters social media editor Anthony DeRosa on Twitter Monday night.

    Indeed, visiting the page at the time of this posting reveals a series of messages obviously meant to satirize the bank’s overall business practices.

    “Starting tomorrow, all Occupy Wall Street protestors with Bank of America accounts around the country will have their assets seized as part of BofA’s new Counter-Financial-Terrorism policy,” reads a post on November 8, “You will sit down and shut up, or we will foreclose on you.”

    This quote, from a Talking Points Memo article by Carl Franzen, describes the first Google Plus “brandjacking,” which began just after businesses got the go-ahead to create their own pages on the service. While it seemed fairly apparent that the page was a fake, it still hit the company where it hurts, portraying Bank of America leadership and practices in an extremely negative light. Although thousands viewed the page, and several active Twitter discussions popped up regarding the situation, it still took over a week for BofA to contact Google in order to have the offending page removed.

    Look at the situation from this perspective – if it took that long, then it’s likely nobody at BofA even knew about the page for a WEEK.

    Where was the social media monitoring?? Where was the brand protection??

    This is the reality of business as we become more and more enmeshed with the digital world. Your reputation is at the very core of your organization’s success, and protecting it means staying aware 24/7.

    There is no excuse.

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. , an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is a writer, publicist and SEO associate for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]