George Leith, our VP of sales, is constantly traveling North America to help business owners understand the concept of the virtual doorway and their digital footprint. He emphasizes that a brand is no longer what you say it is, but what customers say it is. While in Iowa George heard a story that stuck with him — he detailed it here for us.
Don’t Let Mice Infest Your Company
Helping the small and medium business person is my daily quest. As I travel the country interpreting this crazy world of “the virtual doorway,” I have the privilege of hearing the day-to-day issues of business people. The couple I just met in Iowa has a look of dismay as they tell me the horror story of how an ex staff member ruined their 40-year-old business’s reputation. How easy it was for the staff member to do so sent chills down my spine.
The ex staff member had been working for the couple’s small town gas station for six months, and they suspected her of stealing. After installing a security camera, they indeed caught the young woman skimming money from the till. The couple fired her, choosing not to make a scene with local authorities. What happened in the next few weeks is astonishing, and speaks to how important it is for all businesses to listen to what is being said in today's connected world.
The woman, upset that she had been fired, went online and created a Facebook page for the business. The gas station had yet to recognize the power of social media and did not have a page for themselves, so it was easy for the young lady to create a page using the correct business name, address and phone number. She then began posting images she had collected in her six months on the job. To the horror of the business owners, their dirty laundry was aired across the internet. The gas station had a rodent problem, one that they had identified and hired an exterminator to fix. However, before said fix occurred, the woman was able to gather a number of photos of mice in the potato chip display. They had eaten through some bags, and one even was kind enough to practically pose for the photos. There, in all their negative glory, were these images across the business’s virtual Facebook doorway for current and potential customers to see — a PR nightmare that the business could not control.
It is vital for businesses to understand what is being said about their brand online. This chatter through review and social sites is constantly affecting brands. More than ever, business people need to be aware of what is being said online and understand how to deal with it. This particular story details an angry ex-employee purposefully spreading hurtful information via social media, but it is increasingly important for business owners to listen to what is being said online. Whether positive or negative, reviews are the best source of instant feedback, something business owners are constantly seeking out. Your brand is no longer what you say about yourself, but rather what your customers say about you.
In the coming weeks, we will investigate various online issues business people face and source some of the best solutions of the day. This is challenging to say the least, because this world is moving beneath our feet.
I have conducted online reputation seminars throughout North America over the past 18 months, and business people are clamoring to learn about this world and how to manage their virtual doorways. Business owners are demanding answers to these tough questions, and I’m here to help navigate this new world.
George Leith is a digital media interpreter. Specializing in digital strategy and implementation, George illustrates the importance of online reputation management and brand presence. He helps organizations make their virtual doorways as inviting as their brick and mortar entrances. With nearly three decades of experience, George is always in high demand across North America. Last year alone, George traveled to numerous cities across America, including Las Vegas, Sarasota, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Toronto, Tampa, New Orleans and Fort Worth, reaching thousands of businesses.