In our age of smartphones, all notions of private or off-the-record conversations should be tossed out the window.
Just ask presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Romney found himself in full PR crisis mode after saying at a private fundraiser that 47% of the American electorate believe “that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing."
Unbeknownst to Romney, the statements, made in May, had been secretly captured on video by an attendee.
The video has already received enormous backlash and the Romney and Republican Party communications teams are in full push-back mode, using a press conference, updated media policies and support from the Republican National Committee chairman and Republican members of commerce to soften the blow.
However you feel about Romney’s statements, the key for anyone representing a brand is to understand that Big Brother really is watching you:
Never say anything in any public or semi-public setting that you wouldn’t want to see in a headline.
Always assume that there’s someone in the room with the ability to record your words and your actions.
Be especially careful in social settings. People tend to let down their guard after a drink or two.
Make sure your company’s HR and social media policies spell out the importance of watching every word you say.
Follow Jon Gelberg: @Jon_gelberg