Brand Incineration – What to Do When You Have Been Flamed!
Years ago, Kim Maltby,* owner of the Piccadilly Café*, had broken up with her business partner, Nancy Erskine,* in a not-so-friendly business divorce. The two women Piccadilly Grand Condo , who had once been dear friends, then embarked on a vicious battle. The women shouted at one another on the street in front of the restaurant. Traffic slowed. Onlookers gawked. Nancy brought in friends and family to picket the Piccadilly and people were afraid to cross the picket lines. Accusations were hurled: the Piccadilly café had rats; kitchen workers didn’t wash their hands and smoked dope in the back; the place had been cited twice for raw sewage backup into the water supply. On the street, food poisoning victims clutched their stomachs. The police were called in. Tear gas was deployed. At completely different times for separate incidents, both Nancy Erskineand Kim Maltby landed in jail for assault and malicious mischief.
Then Nancy Erskine took the battle to the Internet. Hundreds of nasty posts on City Search and Yelp mentioned food poisoning, eColi bacteria, and allegations of missing cats in the neighborhood. Eventually, the flaming grew so destructive that the Piccadilly Café shuttered and Kim Maltby legally changed her name and moved so she could start over again. The Piccadilly Café became a digital inferno of hatred and its owners became casualties in the new Age of Internet rage. The story of the Piccadilly Café may seem extreme, but it’s not, compared to what can happen to your professional brand on the Internet. In this article, we will explore what to do and what not to do when your brand is being flamed.
***names are changed to protect the guilty