Why We Represent Brands and CEOs on Wikipedia
We decided to launch a website this year. For the past six years, we have operated our firm without one. Having a website would have been nothing more than babble, because to this day, there is still no category for our service. We are not a PR, marketing, advertising, or branding agency. We advise on a specific facet of reputation management. Wikipedia is our platform.
Wikipedia is known as the encyclopedia “anyone can edit”, but we do not directly edit Wikipedia. We are met with scrutiny and suspicion. Despite disclosure of conflict of interest (COI), many Wikipedians protest our participation. Their perception is our objectivity is handicapped because we are paid. At closer glance, both the corporation and Wikipedia community are perceived as faceless entities operated by invisible hands. Finding common ground seems impossible.
We beliveve context is essential, especially on an encyclopedia. We represent the underrepresented. In a court of law, defendants have a choice to hire representation or represent themselves; however, Wikipedia is an online community. While its 200+ ever changing policies are not laws nor legally binding, the risk of reputational repercussion is too high and bias too strong for a Fortune 500 corporation to represent themselves. Anything worth doing will be met with protest and challenge. Through good faith collaboration, debate, and discussion, we can find common ground. We ethically represent big brands on Wikipedia by adhering to Wikipedia policies, and peacefully engaging with community members who publish the encyclopedic presentation of a corporation's brand story and CEO's biography. Those will be read by millions of people around the globe for many years. That's why we do it.