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This post is inspired by the lawsuit filed by Benihana Kuwait against the author of one of the most popular Kuwaiti blogs for an objective review they did not appreciate.

In my previous  job, working in the International Sales Department, our main objective was to get new agents across the world to represent our brand and supporting them through thick and thin with Marketing Materials ranging from catalogs, brochures, photos, samples, emailer templates, templates, microsites…  And that was not an easy job. Many a time clients would come to us directly from countries where we already had agents because they felt that we could service them better, more efficiently, that we had more know how, or simply because the agent was rude, unprofessional, unethical… And I can imagine how much more pressures you have for controlling standards and ensuring brand integrity in the B2C world, from making sure your outlets correspond to certain standards of look, feel, smell & sound, to a unified experience and service levels… especially if you have franchised your brand and no longer hold the remote control, only having access and being able to voice concerns on matters that are distinctly outlined in that one franchising agreement. Whilst on the other hand the franchisee, has the golden key and has the ability to drive your name into a wall at any time.


Benihana Kuwait, who did you sue last night?

via BlogBaladi.com

Well guess what, with the world wide web, your reputation is not only threatened in that one location, worse come to worse, one slip up can cause a global ripple effect damaging all of your brand’s properties.

So today brands playing internationally also have to develop clear branding and marketing strategies for managing their digital identity and reciprocate those experiences into clear guidelines and strict policies with lots of case studies and canned responses for their partners to follow worldwide, otherwise, you’ll have another Benihana Kuwait nightmare on your hands. And well of course, have a clear cut crisis management plan.


I feel so sorry for Benihana New York  and can imagine the nightmare they are going through at the moment unable to control anything and trying to explain to their partners how much damage they have done and convince them to change course of action. For all of you other brands out there, this is not an excuse for you to get scared of the online world and run away, it is just one more proof that you should be online, listen, monitor and engage in a structured way respecting the community that constitutes a large portion of your target audience and learn from cases such as these.


Make sure to check Mark’s roundup on all the amazing posts the community has written to support him and appeal to Benihana Head offices Japan through this easy was provided by @Alexandermcnabb.

For more marketing perspective also check @youmny’s post at Marketing in Lebanon blog – Benihana Kuwait, the art of creating a PR crisis. You can also check what Lebanese bloggers had to say on this.

Disclaimer: 24am is a blog that I have personally been following for a long while and  recommend for all of you to follow due to the amazing quality of content it has and the objectivity of its authors.

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I wrote it last week, just as I came back from a special press screening of The Social Network Movie, which will be released on October 28th, courteously provided by the lovely and amazing guys at Cineklik (with no strings attached as usual).

Let me just start by saying that everyone who is into Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Entrepreneurship, creativity and how new ideas are born, or just plain corporate ball games needs to watch this movie.

The plot amazingly intertwines the evolution of human relations and synergies with how ideas grow, expand and catch on. It also asks the eternal questions of: What gets people creative? Why do we do the things we do? What is right and what is wrong? What is the worth of an idea? What is the best business model for a DOT – COM? In short it is about how Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook and the players who pitched in, in all the different ways. And how they all search for the absolute truth.

It is the first movie in a very long while that makes me want to talk about it for hours and hours non-stop – This is the genius of the script, the brilliance of the actors and how it all well resonates with our fast paced realities and the “Youth” being the movers and shakers in this Business Era, while lawyers and far more experienced people try to grasp the ideas.

The Social Network Poster

I loved how it explores what made Facebook different from the Hi5, Myspace and Friendsters of the time, and zooms into how each element of the facebook profiles evolved.  It is true magic how every player in a company plays a certain role to peg it forward, but then again not all of them are recognized…. Well I will not say more, you have to watch the movie to get the train of philosophical analysis rolling.

The final thing I want to add is that it will turn into a cult movie that will elevate the pedestal Facebook as brand is on both among Technocrats, Entrepreneurs, SM Freaks and wannabees. In my opinion it is the best product placement feat since “Career Opportunities” and it came spot in the next wave of the 2nd Dot-Com boom. Using Facebook, after watching the movie, simply becomes a religious experience. Try it!

Disclaimer: This is NOT a solicited review, the movie simply rocks.

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