The echo chamber demands I repeat rubel: Great article on SearchEngineWatch about a recent panel called "Using Search for Public Relations & Reputation Management" by Catherine Seda
Nan Dawkins, … asserted that consumer-generated media such as blogs are making reputation management through search a growing necessity. …a search on Google for "Walmart and unions" pulled up several blogs that blast Walmart for blocking employees’ efforts to unionize. Fortunately, Walmart is smart. The company created and optimized a landing page for this keyword phrase that ranks #2 in Google’s organic results.
you shouldn’t sit around waiting to respond to bad press. Instead, be proactive””write and optimize press releases to score some good press.
The only flaw I see with this is that I did search for "walmart and unions" and did not see a Walmart page in the top 5. Hmmm. But still, the point is valid that you must and should respond to negative coverage while working to build the brand through positive coverage. And this DEFINITELY includes an awareness of the role of search engines in the brand building process.