We all know that dull news travels like a snail mail and gossip faster than warp drive. One of our favorite examples comes from the all-too-true movie Easy A starring Emma Stone. Three times in the movie, the director shows us the speed of gossip which Emma calls The Accelerated Velocity of Terminal Inexactitude. In this two part series we explore the “hit like a tornado” impact of bad gossip and next time we will explore how to create “buzz” to warp drive your message for maximum impact for the better. Photo Courtesy Sony – click on image for movie.
Denise Lones, founder and owner of the successful real estate marketing group The Lones Group, was in the midst of building a successful business when she noticed a competitor was using a trademark that looked suspiciously similar to her zebra-themed trade dress. When she confronted the competing business about it, she found herself blindsided by the reaction. False accusations, a lawsuit and personal threats occurred in rapid fire succession, causing great personal stress and damage to her business’s reputation.
A successful business results from hard work and effective business-building techniques. One of the most important business-building techniques is a solid reputation. As you’ve worked on the growth of your business, no doubt, you’ve worked equally hard to establish a positive and solid reputation, too. A good reputation in the business community and with your customers requires effort, a focus on customer satisfaction and effective marketing campaigns.
When a disgruntled/dishonest former employee, an unhappy customer or a person who wants to sabotage your success starts spreading gossip and negativity about your business, it can quickly damage the reputation you’ve worked so hard to earn. According to Entrepreneur Magazine Online, technology can cause this type of damage to quickly increase as false information begins to dominate computer search engine results pertaining to your business. The sooner you put an end to gossip and begin working on repairing the damage caused by it, the more quickly you can regain your excellent reputation. Include these considerations in your plans as you clean up the damage and prevent it from progressing.
- Actions Speak Louder Than Words. The Shady Maple Smorgasbord, a Mennonite-owned restaurant in Pennsylvania, was threatened by boycotts and loss of business when they were falsely accused of denying military members service in their restaurant. Even though Mennonites are known for their stance against military action, the Shady Maple was always happy to serve those fighting for our country. To counteract the damaging rumor, the owners offered a 25 percent Veteran’s Day discount to active military members as well as veterans. Their positive action worked. More than 17,000 customers dined at the restaurant over a two-day period, showing that actions have incredible power to dispel falsehoods.
- Counteract With Positivity. Use your business’s blog, email newsletters and social media venues to spread positive reviews and feedback from customers, vendors and employees. The more you can do to build your positive image, the sooner gossip will fade to the background. Next week we try to get our arms around that concept, though often good buzz gossip is just luck that someone notices all the good you do.
- Consult Professional Damage Control. Companies such as Profile Defenders, Reputation.com and your business legal counsel and others that offer businesses the service of conducting damage control and helping to rebuild a positive reputation. By optimizing search engine keywords and terms, and producing effective business-building blog posts and social media content, companies of this nature can help your business regain previous status by generating content that sheds a more positive light on your business.
Recovering from the damage caused by gossip and false accusations can be difficult at best and traumatic at worst. Doing your best to repair your business reputation is not just a matter of necessity; it’s often a matter of principle, too. There’s no reason why someone else’s malicious behavior should ruin years of hard work.
In addition to being proactive, these steps can help you clean up the mess created by gossip and restore the reputation you worked so hard to build.