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Damage limitation

A new ‘scandal’ involving Prince William shows how important careful online content control is when it comes to brand management

Back in June, we blogged about the perils of online content – and warned that it could seriously ruin your online reputation. Careful brand management has become a necessity in the social media age, but not meticulously checking your Web or social media content before posting it can also have potentially far more serious consequences.

The latest to discover that is one Flight Lieutenant William Wales (aka William Windsor, ‘Wills’, one half of William and Kate, Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, Baron Carrickfergus and Prince William of Wales). It’s got nothing to do with those intrusive paparazzi pics of his wife changing her bikini, but everything to do with some pictures that appeared on his and Kate’s new website, dukeandduchessofcambridge.org.

Showing a commendable willingness to modernise the royal family by embracing content marketing (by giving an insight into life at Brand William and Kate), photos appeared showing a day in the life of the young prince as a search and rescue helicopter pilot.

Unfortunately for the UK’s Ministry of Defence, those pictures included shots of William relaxing a control room with his RAF colleagues. Nothing wrong in that, you might think, until eagle-eyed viewers spotted that sensitive information, including usernames and passwords, could be seen on the computers in the photos.

Needless to say the photos on the website were quickly changed to pixelate the sensitive details. But as many individuals and companies alike have found to their cost, content that has once appeared online can never really be deleted. Thus, although the RAF has been quick to say the revealed usernames and passwords have been changed, the incident serves as an important reminder that careful online content control is crucial when it comes to brand management.

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