Storytelling and digital deal breakers for business

Image of thumbs up and downIn today’s digital landscape, companies are all about storytelling, engagement across multiple platforms and increasing their online presence.  As consumers, we no longer let our fingers ‘physically’ do the walking, but rather, we Google companies and follow them on social media when we are in the market for their products and services. But as a business owner, have you ever considered using Google search when a new prospect lands in your lap? We have… and we did. Here’s our story… 

We recently received an inquiry from a prospective client looking for PR work. Specifically, this company was looking to elevate their profile and they were from an industry we were already very familiar with. We couldn’t be more thrilled! After initial meetings with their internal communications and senior teams, we left the office elated about the great things we were going to do for them. We walked away with the promise of doing some industry research followed by a comprehensive proposal to help them meet their media and PR objectives.

As we dove into our research, we found out a thing or two about this promising new prospect online and it turns out this company had particularly bad press coverage. OK, so we have a bit of work ahead of us. After all, it’s not like we have not overcome challenges like this before for our clients.  Still, we were optimistic in helping turn things around for this company as we had for so many others.

The real digital deal breaker for us was when we started digging a little deeper. Not only did we find that their business ethics were being challenged by customers and their employees, but  further digging revealed their Better Business Bureau accreditation had been revoked. BBB assigns letter grades from A+ (highest) to F (lowest). This company received an “F” with an alert posted about their rating, indicating they had a pattern of complaints concerning delays and or non-delivery of goods, slow responses to customer inquiries and refund payments.

We also stumbled across discussion forums revealing ugly legal battles initiated by employees over labour relations and posts by angry customers whose product and service expectations were not being met. In addition, social media accounts were created by unsatisfied customers and  disgruntled employees urging others not to do business with them and with more engagement and activity than that of their own corporate social media accounts.  Yikes!

The writing was on the wall. We respectfully declined to do business with them because of this, and in essence, their online reputation was the digital deal breaker for us. 

Why are we telling you this story? 
Our point is all about storytelling. The ones you proactively market and the ones your customers and employees tell everyday. Your online reputation is everything. This example is a bit extreme, but ignoring negative press and online conversations as this company did, snowballed so quickly and I’m not sure they will ever recover.

The moral to this story?
Don’t let your online reputation become a digital deal breaker for you. Open and honest communications is key, especially in the digital world we all live in. Our advice? Google yourself often. Your company name, your people, brand and products. Sign up for free social media alerts like this one.

Stay in control of conversations as they happen before the online stories about your brand and products get so far out of control, you can’t recover.  With all great stories, we all want happy endings – especially when it comes to our own.

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