The need to safeguard brands and businesses against reputational damage is critical in an era of fake news. Reputational damage can have a long-term effect on a brand’s equity or share price, according to Matthew Barclay, Africa director for media intelligence company Meltwater. “Reputation is a fragile thing,” he told delegates at the Integrated Marketing Communication Conference held in Midrand earlier this month, adding that the power of the news – even when it’s fake – has never been greater. More than half of US citizens get their news from social media, according to the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism’s Digital News Report 2017. Companies or brands that find themselves on the wrong side of that narrative, said Barclay, are in trouble. The 2016 Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor notes: “Companies today are being punished more severely for poor leadership than they are rewarded for good behaviour, which makes a sharp focus on leadership communication a corpor...

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