Marketing Pilgrim's Reputation Channel

Marketing Pilgrim's Reputation Channel is sponsored by Trackur.

BlogStorm – Bloggers Criticized for Microsoft "Spokesblogging" Ads

If you’re reading this post on Monday morning, boy did you miss a flare-up over the weekend. I don’t even know where to begin!

The summary is something like this. Some well known bloggers provided quotes for Microsoft ads run by Federated Media. Valleywag jumped on the opportunity to question the ethics of said bloggers. Some bloggers, such as Om Malik, apologized, while others stood their ground. Federated Media’s John Battelle apparently tried to explain his actions and apologize, which annoyed the heck out of TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington.

There’s so much more to this story, but it’s Sunday evening and, well, it would take a huge post to summarize everything. I’ve not read every detail, but here’s what I’m thinking.

When Facing a Reputation Crisis Be Nice to The New York Times

Toy maker RC2 is facing a reputation crisis over the recall of 1.5 million Thomas the Tank Engine toys, contaminated with lead-based paint.

The company has thus far refused to discuss the recall – which includes products manufactured over a two year period – but its biggest mistake may have been to piss-off The New York Times.

Company executives did not return repeated phone calls left at their homes and offices. A manager at the RC2 factory in Dongguan detained a New York Times reporter for more than nine hours after he had been admitted to the premises by security guards to ask questions about the operation.

It’s worth pondering whether the NYT story might have been shorter and less damaging, had RC2 not detained its reporters for 9 hours and actually explained to them all the steps the company is taking to protect the public.

Dell Still in Reputation Management Kindergarten

Learning to become radically transparent and engaging social media, is not something that can be learned overnight, especially for a large corporation such as Dell. Having lived through their own reputation nightmare, the company is taking great leaps in being more open and honest with its customers.

They recently gaffed, when they tried to silence a Dell kiosk sales staffer, who had shared 22 tips for getting a better deal on your next Dell computer. They overreacted, but they quickly listened to the blogosphere and made a quick change of direction.

Ok, we goofed.   We shouldn’t have sent a notice.  To my earlier point, we appreciate the reminder from the community.  Point taken.

Word-of-Mouth the Most Influential for B2B Execs

Over at eMarketer, they’ve compiled some recent reports that suggest executives in business to business industries rely heavily on referrals and word of mouth, when making buying decisions.

“One-to-one communications make the difference in the B2B industry,” says eMarketer Senior Analyst Lisa Phillips. “Word-of-mouth can be generated from trade events such as shows and conferences. The Internet helps to sustain marketing momentum.”

Internet channels also look like they’re playing a strong part in influence business buying decisions. Who’s influenced by what they see on the web?

  • Online magazines influence 36.5%
  • Search engine natural listing 24.1%
  • Technology blogs 19.6%
  • Media/analyst blogs 10%
  • Paid search ads 6.8%
  • Vendor blogs 4.6%
  • Unsolicited email 4%
  • RSS feeds 3.6%
  • Podcasts 2.7%

Why You Need a Chief Listening Officer

I love David Jackson’s suggestion that every company should have a CLO – Chief Listening Officer. He suggests that marketing shouldn’t be a one-way conversation, and you certainly shouldn’t rely on an annual survey of customers, when determining satisfaction.

In many companies, research into the customer experience is simplistic and ineffective, based on what I call the ‘annual do you love us survey’. To be effective, experience-based research has to gather feedback at all the key stages where a customer does business with you, as well as the overall relationship. Monitoring customer interactions provides valuable information on how the company is doing; actionable data to drive continuous improvement. It is this cycle of feedback and improvement that underpins many companies’ success in building a loyal customer base.

eBay Practices Damage Control with Virginia Tech Gunman Accusations

When you’re one of the world’s largest brands, the last thing you want is to be associated with a crime as heinous as the recent Virginia Tech shootings.

eBay has been accused of being the site from which Cho Seung-Hui purchased ammunition for his two handguns. The company has reacted quickly to refute this accusation, stating that it does not sell ammunition while conceding Cho Seung-Hui did purchase ammunition clips and gun holsters.

“Empty ammunition clips and gun holsters are unregulated items that can be legally bought and sold on eBay as well as in retail stores across the US. However, we are saddened that Mr. Cho purchased on eBay any item that may be linked with his actions last week,” the company said in a statement.

Distilled’s Reputation Monitor Simplifies Feed Monitoring

If you care about your company brand, you should already know that it is vital to monitor the web to determine what is being said about you and catch any potential reputation crisis early.

Up until now, monitoring your own reputation meant either using a reputation management firm or perhaps setting up your own series of alerts and feeds. The do-it-yourself approach just became a little easier thanks to Distilled’s Reputation Monitor.

Distilled is a former consulting client of mine, and they’ve developed Reputation Monitor to help businesses track what is being said about them, without having to trawl through multiple feeds each day. One of the additional strengths of Reputation Monitor is its ability to filter out duplication, focus in on particular keywords or URLs that truly relate to your company, and also assign a value to help you understand the likelihood the item is actually about your company.