Beware of these Branding Blunders that will Bury Your Business

by Nick Nichols, Branding and Reputation Marketing Expert

What comes to mind when your clients think of you? How is your image perceived by potential buyers of your products and services?

In today’s world you are what the media says you are, whether that’s a blog post, review, article, news story or other reference to you online, in print or via television or radio.

Even if you do your best to provide value to your customers and clients and you avoid potentially embarrassing or compromising situations, in today’s world anyone with Internet access can post negative comments or information about you or your business in less than five minutes… anonymously… and usually with no recourse.

This could be done by a competitor, an estranged family member, a dissatisfied client, a jealous neighbor, a jilted lover or anyone who had a grudge against you. (Remember that gnarly-looking guy you flipped off last week in the mall parking lot who, unbeknownst to you, snapped your photo?)

So what can you do to monitor, enhance and, when necessary, repair your online reputation?

First, it’s usually not possible to get negative references to you or your business deleted from major review sites. What is possible is to create enough positive and neutral references to offset and suppress any negatives.

What is also possible – and very prudent – is to provide outstanding value and service to reduce or eliminate the chances of someone posting negative information about you online.

What is also possible is to avoid branding blunders like these that will bury your business:

  • If your topic is serious, don’t try to be funny.
  • If you make a mistake, own up to it.
  • If you’re known as being somewhat conservative, don’t try to be hip.
  • If you’re known as catering to an innovative audience, don’t muddy the waters.
  • If you want to appear as the smart choice, don’t play dumb.

Nick Nichols helps speakers and consultants build their brands to create and maintain stellar online reputations. He’s the author of "Protect and Enhance Your Online Reputation: How to Suppress and Replace Negative Items with Positive References to Establish Expertise and Build Your Brand."