Oh how quickly things change in this, our always-on, information age…
According to a Harris Poll measuring public opinion of Wall Street, the new numbers rank as the most dismal in the thirteen years since they started asking the questions. Last year, 73% believed Wall Street benefited the country more than it harmed it. This year, that number dropped to 54%. Similarly, those claiming to believe that “in general, people on Wall Street are as honest and moral as other people” have fallen to 26% from 41% last year.
Bernie Madoff’s bombshell arrest this past December 12 caused serious fall out for an entire industry. In smaller ways, easy access to the bigoted ranting of Michael Richards or the lunatic ranting of Christian Bale send shockwaves far further than they might have as recently as ten years ago.
Seeing and hearing such unpleasantness for yourself magnifies the impact of stupid or criminal behavior. Today, people are always watching. And talking. And communicating with technologies like Twitter that makes every opinion simple to amplify, collect, and parse.
In this environment, advertisers must invest in word-of-mouth advocacy and online reputation management. Because in the space of a moment, public opinion can plummet.
And today more than ever, advertisers need the public on their side.