Each and everyday – whether you realize it or not – your company is under assault. How should you respond?
The attack may be subtle and difficult to detect. Perhaps it is another vendor’s sales rep sowing doubt about your product during a customer pitch. Or maybe a former employee reveals intellectual property while interviewing for an industry job.
Then, there are those blunt strikes created for the spotlight to spark outrage or sympathy. PETA’s recent I’m Me, Not Meat advertising campaign that takes issue with beef, cattle, seafood and poultry producers is a recent example.
The question of how (or even if) to respond is influenced by two considerations: a) the legitimacy and potential severity of the attack; and b) your organizational culture. (Hey, some companies dig a good fight.) This is a management decision that you as a marketer should absolutely help make.
I suggest you consider the following as you think this through:
- Invest the time to identify threats. Let no surprises be the rule of the day. Visit competitor Web sites. Follow their social media. Talk to your customers about what they hear from other vendors. Monitor the press, analysts and other influencers.
- Make thought leadership the linchpin of your content. Rather than subjecting customers to hype and marketing speak, inform and educate them about industry trends, best practices and applications. This approach will build credibility and make your company more immune to attack.
- And finally, maintain your sense of humor. At times, it’s OK to wink and have a little fun. A restaurateur in Maryland launched his own campaign in response to PETA’s ads encouraging a vegan lifestyle.