There are situations that are just bad news for your business and brand. These situations include individuals, websites, events, companies and certain locations. Anything that has negatively affected your brand should live on the one list, updated regularly, that is for your eyes exclusively. I like to call this the blacklist.
The truth is, the more you achieve and the higher your profile becomes, you’ll gain more detractors. As the film about Mark Zuckerberg’s meteoric rise as the creator of Facebook notes: “You can’t have 400 million friends without a few enemies.”
So, what are the signs that someone or something is potentially poisonous for your brand?
- Over the top flattery. Well-established businesses and identities do not feel the need to overdo compliments; just by association they are endorsing you.
- A person who is trying to leverage off you brand. If they don’t have your permission, this is the quickest route to the blacklist possible.
- A person’s behaviour is erratic. They send out scandalous Tweets that are quickly erased. They are constantly changing focus on projects. Be very careful associating yourself with someone whose brand is shaky, because you’ll never know what they will do next. There is a block function on social media for a reason, use it.
- The reasons why a person or an event or company wants to attach themselves to you are unclear. From the outset, when building an alliance, all intentions need to be laid out on the table. Detail what they expect from your partnership, and how you will benefit from it.
- This person has appeared from nowhere. Thanks to the internet, no one is a stranger; but do your research, ask questions, check out their profile with one of their associates before doing any business.
And what happens if you identify an alliance that could be bad for your brand, and worst yet – if you’re in the middle of working on a project together? Have that conversation as soon as possible. Check your emotions at the door and approach them calmly, by simply stating: “Your behaviour/profile/history is affecting my brand and I cannot afford to be associated with it.”
This is business, it is not personal – even if the alliance you are dismantling may be offended. Regardless of their response, stick to your guns and hold your head high and don’t look back: fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.
Amanda Rose connects CEOs, directors, businesses, government and communities on mutually beneficial projects. She is the executive producer and host of The Business Woman radio program.