What does Fake News mean for brands?
The term ‘fake news’ was something that was almost unheard of 5 years ago, however, ironically, the Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2016 was ‘post-truth’.
As online news and indeed social platforms have grown, so as has the opportunity to distribute fake news stories. This can be extremely damaging for an associated organisation’s brand reputation which can be difficult to build and maintain at the best of times.
For example one brand, in particular that has suffered from Fake News claims recently, is New Balance. They received a very negative backlash after the claim they were the brand that provided the ‘official shoes of white people’ was falsely released. This stemmed from a mis-quotation from an interview which the internet seized and repackaged incorrectly: ‘New Balance offers a wholesale endorsement of the Trump revolution.’ In turn it led to ‘right-wing’ groups praising it as a brand for white Americans, and anti-Trump groups burning their New Balance shoes and posting the ritual online.
For a global brand such as New Balance, fake news has proven to have had a very damaging effect as it has now been added to boycott lists and has a tarnished reputation globally.