They're an amazing company to work for apparently; everyone I know who works there say they'd never work anywhere else.
This ringing endorsement of a client of ours, by an employee of one of their competitors, stopped me in my tracks. Was that corporate heresy being committed? Treason, perhaps?
No. It was much simpler than that; it was just one person being honest to another. One sales and marketing member of staff at a new housing development talking about another housebuilder. I was struck by how refreshing the comment was, and how natural it seemed for the comment to be made. There was no falseness behind the words; no ulterior motive. The client concerned wasn’t in the room at the time, and nor did they need to be.
This moment, on a cold, damp Friday evening on a housing development under construction, was the epitome of marketing. It’s not what you are saying about your company, products, services, values and ethos that matters; it’s what others are saying. That’s marketing, but its’ not just marketing. That’s great marketing.
It’s the kind of marketing that many companies yearn for, and in a week when I had been told that a North-East business in another sector to ours was ‘in trouble, and struggling with money’, it reminded me of the power words have in a world where a comment is only a matter of seconds from becoming a social update, and a reputation potentially under threat.
Results Communications is quite often the ‘face’ of clients when we bring development proposals into the public realm, and invite the community and other stakeholders to tell us their views. Through other marketing activity, we sometimes step slightly sideways, placing the client front and centre, and enabling them to present themselves to their audiences, but always there to ensure that what they saying and how they are saying it are the most appropriate words and tones to be used.
What we can’t control is what others are saying about our clients, but we can influence it. We can endorse and share the positive, and react to the negative to mitigate its impact, and in extreme cases, close it down.
We were catching up with another client earlier this week when the question of ‘closing down’ comments reared its head again. It’s a common problem, and with the ease one can set up a social media account without having to prove ownership, is becoming an issue which needs to be at the forefront of a marketing strategy to ensure swift resolutions are possible.
The client in question was unsure whether to respond to material in the public domain which has the potential for damaging the business, although the level of damage which could be achieved was unknown at this stage. To act or not act?; that was the question.
My advice? Close it down. Every time, and especially when there is a potential threat to the business or its reputation. It may take some effort; it may distract you from your core business but the long-term benefits are irrefutable.
No-one can control what others are saying about them, but we can all input into the perception people have about us and our businesses. This comes from what we say, how we behave, how provide the services and goods we offer, and how we deal with issues when they arise. That says more about a company than any ‘marketing spiel’ on a flier can ever do.
As with Health and Safety, and Safeguarding both fundamental to construction projects everyone is responsible for marketing, and for ensuring that when something negative is being said about your company, someone stands up and starts a movement to close it down. Even if all they are doing is drawing it to the attention of the person who oversees marketing, everyone needs to be aware of what’s being said about you. After all, that’s what marketing is.
Do you have a marketing challenge or a conversation you need to close? Do you have questions about the best approach to tackle it, and how not to? We’re happy to help define approaches and strategies so why not give us a call or drop us an email?