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The Naked CEO

This great piece on the value of transparency and pretty much a must read for communicators. Clive’s blog is worth a look as well.

As with most pieces on the rise of blogging and participatory media, Clive can’t help but take a swing at PR folks and their craft. This marrs the story with causal assumptions. While I agree with the central tenet of the story – transparency is great and should be used to your advantage, the notion that you need to “fire your publicist” and “abandon the message” to be transparent is nonsense.

In fact, nothing in the story seems to support this or point to the fact that complete transparency is the luxury of the unlisted, closely-held start-up. Nearly every corporation other than RedFin cited in the story have an army of PR people encouraging and driving transparency. Not does it point to another real-estate brand – Zillow – that has achieved superior mindshare (albeit in a different segment of the real-state market) on the back of a great PR effort.

Now that’s not to say I don’t like Redfin. In fact, I love it. Redfin also has a PR rep and still seems to issue press releases… I wonder why…

Transparency and engagement are the hallmarks of all great communications – that doesn’t mean they don’t require publicists or messages.

I also find it hard to see Google as a “reputation management system”. It does no managing. Customers, bloggers, pundits and the like all have a new found power to shape reputations. Google mirrors the popular vote, effective optimizer of search, and ranks sentiment that isn’t necessarily a reflection of what your customers think but is a reflection of where the heard is running. Does that make it a “reputation management system” – I don’t think so.

What I do agree with is that Secrecy is dead. And Google is a terrific truth machine. And that customers have become “working partners”.

Thanks to Noel for the pointer… btw Noel, get a blog man!

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