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March 07, 2006

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Pete,

You are so right about the lack of "Defensive Branding"!

However, when you say "If the brand has nothing to contribute, rebut, or challenge, it should clearly avoid this, as this simply risks creating even more consumer cynicism.", it doesn't take into account the hidden agenda motives of too many sellers. These sellers aren't afraid to use "the end justifies the means" tactics in promoting disinformation in the form of a "conversation" which is really "corporate speak". Rather than "lie & deny" they may tell "half truths" or pay other people to do this.

How is a consumer to tell which content is really truthful, unbiased, and objective "Defensive Branding", or that same kind of consumer generated content, and which isn't?

Why was the most looked up word in the Mirriam-Webster online dictionary last year "integrity"?

I am placing these honest, tough questions here along with a similar one on ClickZ Feedback, since I'm not sure if it will be allowed to be published there.

Keep Up the Good Work!

I don't know if you or ClickZ has the final word on leaving Feedback there, but I think you helped get my previous comment published; Thanks.

I liked your "Defensive Branding 101" topic so much that I had to give feedback on two more things.

When you say in the ClickZ article "Anticipate consumer curiosity" this is crucial as more consumer advocate minded people will look more for negative reviews than positive ones. Positive ones are easy to come by. The negative ones have to be evaluated carefully, though.

Also, when you say "Apparently, few (SEO's) are watching the brand's back." this probably is true. However, in their defense, I think most SEO-SEM's are doing what their clients want them to do. The clients probably need more of a "Defensive Branding" education than the SEO-SEM's.

Doing a more "collaborative conversation" vs. just PR with their customers (like BazaarVoice.com offers) would provide many benefits besides just the "defensive" aspect. For ethical, value driven sellers, "the only thing to fear is fear itself".

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