The whirlwind surrounding News Corporation and Rupert Murdoch at present does not seem to subside. As each day passes, new information emerges that has not only led to senior executives resigning from the organisation, but now even the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, is looking embarrassed.
But ignoring the right and wrong of this case itself, what it has proven is that individual activists can shake major corporations to their core.
We used to keep the media on a very long leash because it was the media that scrutinised the politicians, ensuring that any underhand practices were reported. The public considered much of the media to be like a parliamentary watchdog, but who watches the media when it is largely self-policed?
Now we know. The public can report issues and promote interesting comments and findings using social media. The online debate around the phone hacking story has demonstrated that plot twists are known and debated online long before traditional media sources ever get to report them.
And whilst an increase in corporate transparency is a good thing for most, it doesn’t help companies that have bumped along for years with unethical practices that have flown below the radar of the mainstream media.
So the News International scandal has taught us all that we are not only entering a new age of politics, where the public and the media hold politicians to account, but we are in a new era of corporate marketing. The public have more access to more information in real time.
The days of telling consumers one story in Japan and hoping nobody in the US will ever notice are long gone. Marketing strategy now has to accept feedback on a second-by second basis, rather than be subject to an annual strategy.