February 25, 2016
Smartphone video increasing risk to business reputation, warns PR strategist
The reputational risk to companies has dramatically increased due to the use of smartphones to secretly record video and audio, according to a public relations and reputation management specialist.
Lyall Mercer, Managing Director of corporate PR firm Mercer PR, pointed to the recent media stories around rugby league player Mitchell Pearce and advertising agency M&C Saatchi, who both had to make public apologies due to the airing of video taken at private events.
Mr Mercer said while the Pearce incident concerned an individual, it had an effect on the entire club and a situation like this could just as easily be recorded at a corporate function.
“Everyone now has the potential to take damning video or audio, and there is widespread knowledge that the media has an appetite to publish it.
“We live in a new media age where sharing everything and anything has become not only normal but is encouraged.
He said companies now had to be on guard at every event, function, and meeting, and during general interaction with staff and customers.
“If a customer complains you must now assume they are recording the conversation, and if the boss gives a speech he or she must do so knowing it could be on Facebook the next morning.”
Mr Mercer said companies should be aware of the dangers and take steps to reduce the risk of the negative exposure this can bring.
“Small and large businesses must have a good customer complaint procedure and vet every speech and public statement before it is delivered.”
He also recommended a social media policy for staff and suggested that companies may be able to ban employees or guests from recording anything on their premises.
Alistair Macpherson, Director of Corney & Lind Lawyers confirmed that he believes a written policy banning unauthorised recording at a workplace is likely to be “a reasonable and lawful direction.”
“The employer is the occupier of the premises, and in my view has the authority to control any videoing on the premises whether by an employee or any other person entering the premises,” he said.