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A Pocket Square Is Not Your Reputation

A Pocket Square Is Not Your Reputation

Great location, beautiful offices and a CEO who wears designer suits, ties that pop and impeccably folded pocket squares.  Too bad the company can’t find a qualified office manager because online review site Glassdoor says the dapper executive’s business only rates one and a half stars.

I heard yet another online reputation horror story this week as a business struggles to find new talent because online reviews suggest the company is not great place to work.

The sad aspects are that the online reputation and the actual reputation of the company don’t match, and the top executives are focusing more on how they appear in client meetings than how the internet presents their business.  The web is the front door to all our businesses, so if how you appear online looks questionable, then spiffy offices, tailored shirts and luxury cars don’t really matter.

Before you go on another shopping spree for office attire, please check out some basic online advice that overrules a delightful pocket square:

Monitor online results – search engines, online reviews and the dark web

Online problems can flare-up in an instant so every business needs to have a plan in place to monitor online results.  This includes search results which may be the first to publish negative news stories, hate blogs and social media posts that are building viral strength.  Online review sites become more important each day and should be checked regularly.  Most have robust back-end dashboards that will alert you to new activity, so take advantage of these services – often offered for free.  And if your business touches private data like credit card numbers, social security numbers, medical records or driver’s license numbers, then you need to monitor the dark web – as this is where the bad guys will go to sell the data they have stolen from you.

Engage with online review sites

Monitoring online review sites is not enough.  Engagement is critical, so every business needs to develop a plan to not only claim profiles on review sites but also engage with the folks that leave reviews.  While we fear negative reviews, engagement also enables us to speak directly to happy customers and work to turn them into brand loyalists and advocates.  When facing negative reviews, engaging offers the opportunity to turn a negative situation around or at least tell your side of the story.

Make sure your employees don’t shoot you in the foot

Every member of your team represents an online vulnerability.  Businesses need to monitor the online personas of their top executives.  Your top people need to build their reputational firewalls and also be educated about how their online activity can impact the business.  We really don’t have privacy and free speech anymore as anything you say online can be used against you – perhaps not legally but definitely in the court of public opinion.  Businesses also need to implement social media policies for all employees.  Whether you like it or not, how your employees behave online can impact your brand.  Preventable damage may be done before you can react to it.  Make sure your employees understand your social media policies and the ramifications for bad online behavior.

The image of every company begins within the online world.  Sure, presenting a great physical image is important, but many of your customers are evaluating your company’s reputation long before you get to look them in the eye.

Do you have plans and processes in place to track your online reputation?  I would enjoy learning more.



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  1. Le me take minute to explain to you what exactly a pocket square says about you and how it can effect your interview, date, boss and people around you; what it says about you and yes, your reputation. I guess it all depends on the ‘crowd’ you travel in. A squared off ‘square’, in fact, says you are ‘square’ . Tight assed if you please. If you spend any kind of time trying to arrange ‘it’, you’re square. I leaned this a long time ago from a haberdasher and a ‘bon vivant’. One who actually asked if he could ‘rearrange’ ‘something’ (I got a little worried) and he proceeded to remove my ‘square’ that I had folded neatly into my blazer breast pocket and, then, just stuffed it in as if I had just blown my nose into it and had no time to arrange it; again. Now it just billowed out but I left it there for the rest of the show. That was maybe 1976 At the NYC bicycle show and the passerby who made the ‘adjustment’ was, in fact, Anthony Quinn; a bicycle aficionado. I have since learned that a man should groom himself and dress to perfection and then create, by design, an imperfection just to say to the world that “I don’t give a shit”; by design. Now, your next ‘lesson’ will be, ‘why wear a kerchief’ around your neck tied like a necktie while wearing a ‘Tee’ shirt and shorts. Dat way!


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