The theory of the brand-agnostic marketer

There have been quite a few instances over the last few years of someone in some aspect of the marketing profession honking off a current client with something they say on Twitter, in a blog post or through some other means of social self-expression. It’s something just about everyone has in mind when they’re publishing online: Am I saying anything that is going to negatively impact my relationship with a client?

But the question I’ve been more interested in lately is how careful do marketers need to be so as not to potentially spoil new business opportunities. Are we supposed to not check in to Restaurant X because what if Restaurant Y comes knocking on our agency door and, as part of their research, finds someone is Super Mayor of the other chain?

There are plenty of people who write lengthy screeds on how so-and-so company “doesn’t get it” as thinly veiled attempts to get that company to call them up and hire them as consultants in order to fix whatever problems may exist and turn that critical voice into a supportive and influential one. These folks are usually as fickle as a toddler at the dinner table and spend a lot of time figuring out how to go after the next bit of business while delegating the work that just came in to junior staffers.

I’m not necessarily talking about these folks since their motives are pretty clear to anyone who’s paying attention.

I’m more interested in the question of whether it’s ever OK or not for a marketing professional to state an opinion – positive or negative – about a brand or express an affiliation for one over another not because it’s going to get them into immediate hot water with a client but because it might impact a bit of business down the road.

There may not be a perfect answer to this and it might be one of those that comes down to the “What does your gut tell you?” factor that so many decisions in this realm seem to.

I’m interested, though, in how others approach this question for themselves. Do you find yourself deleting things you’ve written prior to publishing because you’re concerned about how they might play at a later date?