With the emergence of Web 2.0 and the ability of internet users to co-operate, collaborate and share information with one another there has been a steep learning curve for brands who have had to adapt their behaviour when it comes to delivering messages to consumers.
Most recently, Sony’s Playstation Network (PSN) was hacked into and the personal information and in many cases credit card details of its millions of users across the globe compromised. Hacking of information is not a new phenomenon but it is the response of Sony, one of the world’s largest tech companies that has drawn criticism.
With the breach occurring between April 17 – 19, Sony waited a full week to release the details of the breach and just this morning (April 29), as a PSN user myself, I finally received an email acknowledging the issues, a full 10 days later!
The slow response and lack of information offered to users considering the seriousness of the issue will have significant ramifications on the level of trust users have for the brand. With the ability to act and inform those affected, Sony has sat on its hands and waited before informing the world and more importantly the 70m affected users of the problem.
Brands have had to learn to adapt their messaging about themselves but also the importance of the timeliness in delivery. No longer can they take time to ponder over their correspondences or media releases but are required to be upfront and honest or face potential major backlash from consumers.
Responding to negative press featuring a company cannot be met with a slow or non-existent response anymore. Brands have the ability to deliver a fast response to an issue, consumers not only want this, but have come to expect it.
It is trust and openness which consumers expect. The lack of information which was provided in any form, not just delivered through social networks which has been a significant issue and one which undermines trust in Sony as a brand.
Sony has one of the highest reputations for a brand in the world, behind only Google in a survey conducted by the Reputation Institute in 2010. This was built on over 60 years of innovation and finding solutions to consumer needs. The question is how much will an issue like this cost the company in the future?
In a world where brand reputation takes years to build, and an instant to break down, this could be one issue that seriously tarnishes the solid and trusted brand that is Sony.