Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Equalities and Human Rights Commission: invaluable lesson on search

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission has had an invaluable lesson on the importance of search.

It used to be easy for public relations consultants: get to know a few journalists (drink with them if necessary) write a good press release and give them a call. Job done.

Now there are far more things to consider, including what impact a news story will have on an organisation's internet reputation.

EHRC boss Trevor Phillips gave a wide-ranging interview at the weekend during which he said that Barack Obama could not have emerged in Britain's party political system because of "institutional racism" within the Labour party. He accussed (former?) comrades of willing the ends but not the means.

The remarks have provoked a strong reaction - most of which the EHRC may see as beneficial. However, does it want this to be the only issue associated with its chair?

Type "Trevor Phillips" into Google. These are the results. If you search "equality human rights commission" it may not be top 10 (yet) but with the Google News clipping and the Times article 16th it will still make an impact.

Assuming that a body responsible for seven equalities strands doesn't want to be known for this alone, how could this have been avoided? I won't give you all the tips of the trade but try putting "Tesco" into Google. Notice how the first newspaper site is ranked 17th. I know that Tesco are bigger and have been around longer. But Google - and its users - don't account for that and their perception of the organisation changes accordingly.

The standard reached by Tesco must be aspired to by any organisation seeking to influence public life.

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