One simple misjudgement and lots of media attention later, and Trois Pommes brand reputation is literally on the line.
Oprah Winfrey wanted to buy a handbag that she spotted in the window of a high end boutique in Switzerland. She went in and asked to see it but instead the saleswoman told her that the bag was very expensive and suggested she look at other bags.Oprah Winfrey did not mention the word “racist” but plenty of others have made that assumption on her behalf. The store claims that the saleswoman was being helpful by offering to show similar but less expensive versions of the bag and that there was no hint of racism involved. Now the brand is tarnished and a big question mark hangs over it.
It was unfortunate that the incident involved someone as famous as Oprah but these sorts of events must be more common than we know. One misguided comment, one error in invoicing, or one smile at the wrong time…It does not take a lot to ignite a reputational wildfire.
As leader you need to be aware of how you and your brand are being assessed, and why. If you are not paying attention to what is being said about you, the wrong messages might be spreading through the digital world unchecked.
Of course, there is no way you can control every circumstance or how people react to it, but what you can do is to work from a position of integrity and transparency. Remember that it’s the way you operate in good and tough times and what you do that showcases your true worth.
Ricky specialises in building top performing teams and individuals for many of Australia, New Zealand and Asia's leading organisations, and is an energetic motivational conference speaker, corporate trainer and executive coach.