Who controls your video brand online?

I get reasonably frequent questions from people who want to know how to remove a video from YouTube or elsewhere because they don't like the way the brand currently represents their brand. As a common example I'll use the most recent question:

Can a video that's posted - that I did not personally post - be removed? There is a former employee representing our non-profit association on a video - while the video itself is a year old, it is very misleading that she is still representing us.

While the immediate question of how to remove the video is important, there's a bigger question all organizations should consider before they start posting video online - who controls your video brand online?

The problem in the case above isn't that someone previously associated with the non-profit appeared in a video for the organization. The real problem is that the non-profit didn't post the video with an account maintained by the organization. When the person left the non-profit, so did the username and password for the video hosting account.

The solution to this problem is quite simple. Create an account for the firm at each online video service you intend to use. Tie that account to an email address the firm will always control. When someone leaves you will need to update passwords so they no longer have access, but you will still be able to make business decisions about how the videos on those services are used.

It's easy for this problem to appear an grow out of control quickly, especially at small companies. You empower someone with the task of making videos, without any guidance. Next thing you know, they setup a YouTube account tied to their own email and start uploading videos to that account. While it's important to take action, make sure you have a plan first. Create that master account for the company. Give your intern or whoever is tasked with posting videos access, but keep control of the account. Then when they move on, you aren't wasting valuable attention on cleaning up a mess you should have avoided in the first place.

If you've already started down the wrong path, the best time to correct it is now, before the people in charge of your video strategy move on to a new project. If possible, change the settings in your online video accounts to something the firm can control. Use an email alias so that you can redirect the account later on. Use the company standard for maintaining passwords on the video account (if you don't have password guidelines, get some).

What if someone who never worked for the firm posted video online? Realize you can't control absolutely everything that's posted online (nor should you). If Oprah posted a video online with your former CEO and now there's a new head of the company, it would be pretty stupid to ask Oprah to take the video down. It's proof your product or service warranted Oprah's attention in the first place. It's also quite possible that your brand is getting attention because of Oprah's interest. Same goes for video posted by the local or national news shows. Besides, these are historic snapshots of where the company was at the point in time the video was created. You also can't spend all your time playing whack-a-mole trying to get every negative review removed either - the problem isn't the reviews, it's the product. Fix the product and people will rave.

Focus on what you can control, which is video created and posted by the team of people you work with. Create a simple strategy for maintaining user accounts within the company. When someone leaves, your brand will go on.