If you have taken care of a kid before, then you have probably also had the harrowing experience pleasure of changing their diapers when they take a dump (my apologies, I don’t have a politically correct way to say this). And no matter how cute a baby is, their shit still stinks. But before you give the kid a change of diapers, you always clean them up first. Some people use just water while others may add Johnson’s baby powder and then put on a new diaper. Whatever the case, they have gotten to the root of the problem; they have cleaned up the shit first and started afresh.
Many Lessons to learn here…
There is no escaping this. For as long as you keep eating, you will always take a dump. As a company, as you go through the paces and grow, you will get it wrong at some point. It is never a smooth ride to the top. Even Safaricom which was our love child for so long has woken up to the stink of this reality. And just going by the sentiment of Kenyans in social networks, I would be worried if I were Safaricom. Regardless of how immaculate you might be, we all have one of those days where shit hits the fan. The question that then arises is how do you deal with stink?
Flies are always first on the scene when shit happens. Sometimes you might be too busy doing what you do best to notice that something has gone wrong. But these days, there are too many flies in the form of social media platforms that will make enough buzz, pardon the pun, and get your attention. Unfortunately for you, they also get the attention of everybody else within reach and given how connected the world is today, they have just put your shit out for the world to see. This creates a bigger dilemma for you in terms of containment. You still haven’t answered the above question, how do you deal with the stink?
Many businesses today have PR firms to handle their brand reputations when shit happens. For a long time, these PR firms have been hugely successful at ensuring that the shit don’t stink. But there is another problem that has now come up that calls into question the ability and capacity of traditional PR Firms to contain your stink. You see, if your “bad reputation” took a flight around the world and yet your PR firm is taking a steam engine train and trying to catch up with it and contain it, do you fathom your chances? I don’t? You cannot use old media to tackle a crisis that is playing out in new media.
Here are a couple of pointers. You cannot put a new diaper over the old diaper with all the shit still in there. The flies will keep circling and making a buzz. You cannot remove the old diaper and put on a new diaper without wiping the shit. Fact is, if you do that, the shit still stinks. There is no PR campaign over any media, old or new, that will save you if the issue at hand is not resorted. If you are overcharging, if your service leaves a lot to be desired, if your customer care people are rude, if you are retailing bogus products etc, this is the shit that has to be cleaned up first before you get a new diaper.
In summary, shit happens in business. The advent of social media has ensured that the world can know about it even before your C.E.O does therefore creating an enormous online reputation management crisis. But you cannot rely on a PR firm that only knows press releases to mange a brand reputation issue that has its epicenter in social media networks. And you certainly cannot rely on any PR firm, digital or otherwise to try and salvage your reputation without an effort on your part to rectify the source of the problem, be it service or product related. So the question still remains, because shit happens, are you prepared to deal with it when it does?
That is my small guide to staying so fresh and so clean clean…