It was seven years ago (July 11, 2005, as a matter of fact) that the Repman blog was launched with this inaugural post: "Why a Blog on Reputation Management?" Re-reading it is like taking a time trip to the recent past.
In the text, I addressed such image and reputation crises of the day as:
– The late Michael Jackson's fondness for young boys (shades of Jerry Sandusky!).
– Bernie Ebbers, the disgraced CEO of Global Crossing (Bernie was just the vanguard of what would be many more corrupt corporate chieftains to follow).
– Trent Lott's speech about the late Strom Thurmond's pro-segregationist ways (Trent and Strom would have had a field day with Obama).
– The juicing of baseball players Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi, respectively (Now, it's Lance Armstrong's doping and Roger Clemens' oh-so-bogus acquittal from his perjury case).
In the original blog, I noted that all of the above were emblematic of the complete erosion of trust in every pillar of American society in 2007. And, sadly, things seem to have only gotten worse.
That said, it's both shocking and somehow predictable that ONLY the Catholic Church (fueled by its never-ending pedophilia scandals and refusal to embrace change in a rapidly evolving secular world) remains at the top of the crisis du jour list.
Looking back, I distinctly recall erstwhile Peppercommer Andrew Foote urging me to write my own blog. Having recently joined us from CooperKatz where Steve Rubell was lighting up the nascent blogosphere with his observations, Andrew pushed me to create Repman. And, I still recall his advice at the time:
– "Find your own voice." Check.
– "Take the road less traveled." Check.
– "Posit your views on other, more influential bloggers' sites." Check. I still post comments on blogs written by Al Ries, Ken Makovsky and Richard Edelman, among others.
– "Comment on breaking news stories." I did at first, but now find I create the most buzz when I opine on a page two story (that's because most competitors swarm around the lead story of the day).
– "Never, ever, let someone else guest blog for you. Readers are only interested in your POV." That advice proved wrong. Some of the very best received Repman blogs have been guest authored (and, I think guest writers also provide Repman an oh-so-important refresh).
Andrew helped jump-start a passion that has seen me win several industry awards (note: I'm honored to say I've yet again been honored as a finalist for PR News blogger of the year). Blogging has also enabled me to counsel clients as they've created their own digital footprints. And, it's provided me with a bully platform to inject a comedic angle into otherwise serious subjects.
Indeed, I think it's my blend of comedy and commentary that sets Repman apart. And, I have Andrew Foote (who now toils for The Evil Empire, BTW) to thank for that.
Who knows if Repman will still be publishing in seven years' time? If it is though, you can count on one thing: along with death and taxes, the Catholic Church will still be knee deep in crisis and denial. Some things never change.