Much like bad publicity for a company, we don’t often highlight the deadliest animals here in Australia. It’s not exactly the best PR; however, once the word is out it can’t be ignored. Reputation management is essential for all brands large and small. Here are some reputation management lessons brands can learn from Australia’s deadliest animals.
- The Great White Shark: A bad reputation can kill your brand. Just hearing the name “great white shark” strikes fear into the hearts and minds of millions. If any animal needs some help with reputation management, it is the great white shark. They are not even the most aggressive shark towards humans. Humans are swimming in their domain. If more humans were present in the environment of other predators, the fatalities would likely increase there too. The real story here is that for every one human killed by a shark (all species), humans kills 25 million sharks. So, if the media is painting you as a horrible and destructive company, use the facts to help rebuild your reputations and encourage your consumers and customer advocates not to give into horror stories and stereotypes.
- The Cone Snail: Beware of stereotypes. Speaking of stereotypes, unlike the negative and imposing stereotype of the great white shark, also beware of falling prey to improper assumptions. The cone snail is a perfect example of this. Yes, it’s a snail. It is a sea snail that injects a deadly neurotoxic poison into its victims via a harpoon. There is no anti-venom and humans can become paralyzed and drown – because of a snail. There are two lessons here, don’t underestimate something or someone because you think they are harmless. The second lesson is not to fall victim to a stereotype. Do not let what others think about you dictate your brand’s reputation. You should be in charge of steering the conversation and establish yourself and your brand advocates as the authority for your company.
- The Box Jellyfish: Transparency doesn’t always help the situation. Of course, transparency is a very important thing for companies and brands. However, there is an exception to every rule. This is where clever PR comes in. Honesty is always the best policy, but careful wording is key and being transparent about everything often doesn’t help a company, especially when it comes to the internet.
- The Blue Ring Octopus: Beauty can’t make up for substance. If your website is beautiful but does not tell your public anything about your company or your brand, it will not help your online reputation. Beauty only gets you so far and on the web, content is king. So, yes, have pretty pictures and beautiful imagery and design; but do not leave out the important details from the copy. Content is what helps establish your online reputation and website ranking.
- Venomous Snakes: Identification and using the appropriate action is of key importance. Australia and the web are both full of them. There are more than 100 venomous snakes in Australia; there are more deadly snakes than non-venomous ones in the land down under. Similarly, the internet is filled with snakes, sometimes known as trolls. You have to be smart when dealing with them. Most snakes only bite when they are cornered or feel threatened. Internet trolls operate in much the same way. They can do a lot of damage to your company’s online reputation and the situation will likely get worse if they are provoked. Therefore, it is important to identify what type of snake you are dealing with and know when to ignore one and move in the opposite direction.
- Poisonous Spiders: Don’t underestimate being small. Just because you are small doesn’t mean that your online reputation problem won’t be huge. Not that all spiders in Australia are small (unfortunately), but some of the smallest ones can be the most deadly. Take for example, the Sydney funnel web spider. It is only 1.5 – 3.5 cm long. Do not make the mistake of thinking that since your company or organization is small that it makes you immune to online reputation problems. Small businesses must prepare for and build a positive online reputation perhaps even more so than larger ones. Larger companies will likely survive a small attack to their reputation but a small company might not fare as well unless well prepared.
- Salt Water Crocodiles: Sometimes they are just out to get you. Salt water crocodiles are one of the most dangerous predators in Australia. Unlike other predators and deadly animals, salt water crocs intend on attacking and eating you. They are likely plotting about it right now. They camouflage themselves by hiding in the water and wait to pounce with lightning speed and bone crushing power. Disgruntled customers or aggressive competitors can be much like “salties”. The black hat companies and competitors likely to attack you with a negative SEO campaign are just like salt water crocodiles. The best way to defend against them is to avoid them, don’t antagonize them, and be aware that they are there. Mind your own business and steer clear while building your reinforcements and your own online reputation defenses is the best policy.
An Attack on Your Online Reputation is More Likely than Getting Bit in Australia
Your chances of being hurt by a deadly animal while in Australia are actually pretty low, despite the constant focus on “what could happen”. Chances of your online reputation being attacked are also slim, but probably even more likely than being attacked by some evil creature in Australia. Your approach to your online reputation should be just as cautious as you would be travelling in Australia. Always use best practices and build your own reputation rather than waiting until there is a problem and trying to clean it up.