A Good Name is Not About Spelling

For some people, the old adage really works: “I don’t care what they say about me, so long as they spell my name right.”  Think Snooki or Kim Kardashian.

Most organizations, though, rightfully have a more sophisticated and sensible approach to their brand and public image: They want to people to understand their points of view and be aware of the good things they are doing.

The best way to accomplish that goal is through authenticity.  Be honest, open and yourself, as you put your best foot forward.  It’s not all about attracting notice of any kind.

Even so, that reality doesn’t keep people who should know better from shooting themselves in the foot.

You saw that misguided attitude – all press is good press — in the recent ham-handed approach of some Super Bowl ads. Groupon, an online coupon company, seemingly made light of the plight of the people of Tibet, endangered whales and deforestation of the rain forest.  Millions of dollars spent; few friends made.

The wrong thinking also was front-stage in the recent tweet of Kenneth Cole, an entrepreneur who said, “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online…”  Now, that’s the way to harness the power of social networking. Anyone following that hashtag is going to run out for new shoes and accessories, and love your brand for life. Not.

Cole immediately apologized, and Groupon tried to explain things away in their blog.

Still, it’s pretty clear from behavior like this that not everybody has been reading Dale Carnegie.  You make friends and influence people by having a good set of values, working hard, treating individuals with respect and honestly telling people what you have to offer.  That’s the core of PR and building meaningful, lasting relationships.

– Eric Blom, APR