We received a funny request this morning that seemed like a good jumping off point for a conversation about reputation management. The request was for bids for an SEO consulting project. The request came from an IT consultant with plenty of acronyms in his job title…seems like he is an accomplished professional in his field. Here is the punchline with the URL removed:

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After a chuckle, most of us would realize this person was hacked and move on with their day…but there is a larger point in here. This IT professional now looks like a spammer. If he isn’t looking for a job or trying to network potential clients, the net effect may be small. But to everyone who received that email he looks like a spammer and—especially as an IT consultant–his brand is damaged.

In terms of reputation management, what could he have done differently? Secured his accounts. One of the easiest ways to protect your (personal or professional) brand is to prevent it being tarnished in the first place. Changing passwords and making sure they aren’t easy to guess would have saved this IT consultant the headache of having to track down the recipients and apologize for the hack.

Proactive reputation management is a lot easier and less expensive than reactive reputation management–which can take months of work to get your brand back to where you’d like. Whether you use the industry jargon or not, monitoring and protecting both your name and your company is always a good idea.