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Have you seen my brand?

September 1, 2009

Well, it’s not actually lost. Is it?

compass

Is your brand being compromised? And are you aware of people’s perception of your brand? Is your brand in the right place at the right time?

The real question should be why aren’t you monitoring and protecting your brand’s reputation? Not just in the online social world but offline as well. What are your customers saying in the call centers or what are your employees saying on the street.

I have seen many brands of different sizes brought to their knees over the last couple of years by brand misuse or verbal actions.  From bastardizing the corporate image, logo or name in social networking site, to abusing brand assets in user generated content (UGC); fake twitter accounts that falsely represent the brand, to impostor sites in disguise of a branded account log-in page. We know that fraudsters are out there. We’ve all heard about the phishing sites, email fraud, and the phone call asking about your Social Security number. Yes, the bad guys are out there.

So what about your employees…what are they doing or saying? While on the clock or after hours? Should you care how they are representing your brand or companies image? What a no brainer, of course you care. You should be concerned about how your employees make the pizzas or sub sandwiches.

Ask Dominos Pizza, earlier this year two employees made a video and posted it on YouTube. In the video, the  Dominos employee in Conover, North Carolina, prepared sandwiches for delivery while putting cheese up his nose, nasal mucus on the sandwiches, and violating other health-code standards while a fellow employee provided narration.  Just in the first couple of days,  the video was viewed  more than a million times on YouTube. References to it were in five of the 12 results on the first page of Google search for “Dominos,” and discussions about Domino’s had spread throughout Twitter, according to a NYTimes.com article. I’m sure this was not the Social media campaign that Dominos had hoped for. But I would have to say, to Dominos credit, they handled the situation judiciously and promptly. Dominos took quick actions because they had a plan in place, “a brand disaster control plan”.

Brands should learn from the Dominos ordeal, they should try to identify good and bad situations that may occur in the online and offline world. They should have a plan in place and constantly monitor the brand and customer dialogue. You should NOT react every time someone screams. It is up to the brand to control the various thresholds.

Whatever you want to call it, your brand is out there for the taking. No matter how damaging or benign the infringement is or how someone pings you for having bad service, your organization’s brand could be affected. More today then ever before, we live in a world of openness and people talk.

This reminds me of the Dr. John, Right Place, Wrong time song. The first line goes something like this:

I was in the right place, but it must have been the wrong time
I was on the right song, baby, must have been the wrong line

Your brand should be in the right place, at the right time and singing a song that your customers all know. Plus, being in the right place will save you big. I call this Precise Dialogue. Being in the right place and having a healthy conversation with your customers.

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