Where Do You Start When You Have A Branding Crisis?


I sat in with Michael Yorba on his show, CEO Money, this afternoon on 1190AM in Dallas. 

Transcript below:

Michael: Giovanni, welcome to the show. Thanks for being here.


Giovanni Gallucci: Thanks a lot, Michael. I appreciate it.


Michael: My pleasure. Alright, let's give the audience some background on you, your company before we get started too far, and then I gotta let in the questions, and Ed, please don't hold back, jump in on this one.


GG: So thank you. I am an independent consultant here in Dallas, Texas, and spent a few years in the corporate environment as a digital marketer, and a programmer. And at some point during that career decided I was better off hanging my own shingle out and going out on my own. So I spent a lot of time covering a wide breadth of services for folks, but for the most part it's... For easy understanding, social media and SEO, search engine optimization is what I do. But we combine that with photography and video and web development, and mobile app development, a lot of other stuff that support those disciplines.


Michael: You've worked for some pretty substantial companies in the past, haven't you? 


GG: I have a ton of fun with a lot of big companies. I worked with everybody from small, medium sized businesses to working on projects as an adjunct on, with folks like Red Bull and Topo Chico water, Microsoft, Nokia. So I've got some nice marquee clients on my resume, but for the most part, I tend to work with kind of emerging brands and folks that are medium sized companies, but that are starting off with either an individual product or service they wanna market, or I have a lot of fun... That's a weird way to say, I have a lot of fun working with brands in crisis, and helping them get their house in order whenever things aren't going right.


Michael: So not that ours isn't going right, but let's say we were a brand in crisis. Where do you start? Where do you start to peel the onion back and dig into, and then how do you set people upright, go forward, things to think about, things to plan on, and here's your path now.


GG: A lot of times what I'll do is, I'll walk in and I'll look and make sure that a company has got cohesive goals that they're trying to achieve from a business perspective, completely outside of everything they're doing on marketing. And once I establish what those goals are and kind of take a measure as to whether or not their staff and their employees are actually behaving in way that will help them achieve those goals, then we move over to the digital space in the marketing space and make sure that the behaviors on that team, and the activity support the overall goals for the business. And then in most cases they're not, it's kind of scattered. So you start doing some work there and then you kind of move into, "Okay, what are you doing? Why are you doing it?" I've got a lot of fantastic kind of Zig Ziglar-esque kind of anecdotes about, you walk into a company and you find out that they're doing something and you ask them why and they have no idea why. Essentially the answer is, "We're doing it because we've always done it."


So I try to remove a lot of the behavior that they have on their team that makes no sense, but that they're doing it just because they're used to doing it that way, and then we start targeting our behavior so that what we do actually supports the overall mission of what the company should be doing.


Michael: That's the first time I've heard that put that way, we've had digital marketing people on the show over and over and over again. And as the first time I've heard you approach it like, let's talk about what you're trying to achieve versus...


GG: Oh, my god.


Michael: Let me come in there and just, here's how... Here's the whiz-bang of how...


GG: It is so, and I think that what you're getting at is companies and consultants and web marketers usually attack problems with what they know and what they're comfortable with. So I'll walk into an organization and find out, and for just so we kinda keep it with areas that people are familiar with, they're spending all their time on Facebook, right? 


And I ask why they're spending their time on Facebook, because Facebook is Facebook. So what they do is they go to where they think they're supposed to be, and then they try to shove their business priorities into that platform to make it fit, whether or not that's the appropriate place to be or not, right? 


And so you might sit down and say, "You know what? That's a complete waste of your time, either for technical reasons or because your audience isn't there. Why aren't you spending time on LinkedIn instead? Why aren't you spending your time cultivating press access and doing things like that?" So it may not be a traditional PR approach where you're trying to get access to journalists in print editions, but certainly, maybe you need to be up on Huffington Post or Inc. Magazine or something like that. So it's... You move outside of just being social media, and that's why I call it digital strategy. Most of what I do ends up tying into SEO and social media, but you can't do that well, and honestly if you don't step back and go, "Wait, before we even talk about any of that garbage that has to do with online stuff, what does the business need? What is the business trying to do?"


And it's either that or you come in and the business says, "Hey, I've got this budget per month, make that work. It has nothing to do with what your goals are. Let's figure out what your goals are, find out the solution, and then based upon your budget, we'll figure out the best path to take. As opposed to I've got x amount of dollars, let's do ads.


Michael: What about the... There, on that point too, but what about the approach that I hear every once in a while, you need to be everywhere; you need to be on Instagram, you need to be on LinkedIn, you need to be on Facebook, and you... And then you need to have a campaign that involves email. How do you go about structuring something that's really effective? Let's say, I want CEOs to call me, I want CEOs to come on to the show, and I want CEOs to grow their business because they're on my show. How would I take that need, that drive, that goal, and then turn it into a fluid, scheduled stressless process to get the message out and get accomplished what I need to get accomplished for my clients? 


Ed: I don't think it's ever gonna be stressless, so let's keep that in mind too.


Michael: It's never. Thank you very much. It's not stressless.


Ed: You brought up something there too, Giovanni, I'm sorry to break in there, but some of the Gallucci rules here are obviously the ability to pivot and what you're talking about is doing something that seems to be very important to you. How difficult is it to get people who, "done it this way, we've done it this way forever, we're not changing, we don't think the world's changing, we don't think we should change with it," how difficult is it to get legacy organization like that to pivot into the new digital strategy? 


GG: Well, first usually in my situation, I'm not called into the room until something like that has happened. And it's either it's already happened and they've pivoted and they're ready to go, or I've got somebody who's a champion inside of an organization that needs backup and support to convince everybody else. So usually you solve those issues by bringing data to bare down on the issue. So if I can come into a place and I'm trying to convince somebody that Facebook or Google or maybe it's YouTube or maybe it's a combination of having a campaign where you're looking at influencers within your industry to try to start writing more about what your business is doing, you bring stats to the table to show this is where your audience is, these are the people your audience listen to, this is the content they're consuming and I like to back up and I don't care if it's Facebook or if it's CNN.com or if it's Huffington Post or if it's a blog or whatever it is, my first focus is here's your business, let's identify who your consumer is. And then you move to find out where do they get their content? What are they consuming? 


And they can be anything from being in a car, sitting on the [07:35] ____ looking at billboards, to listening to the radio, to watching it on YouTube, to consuming it from whatever new source they get and news magazine they read online. You don't know until you do a little bit of research and identify those people, find those sources and then you come to the table and say, "You know what, that may not be appropriate for us to do it online." You may just wanna put a flag in the ground to make sure nobody steals your brand, but you may come and go, guess what? There's a whole huge audience for you on Pinterest. And maybe that's the... Let's go ahead and pay lip service to Facebook, but Pinterest is where your audience is at and if that's the case, let's pull together a strategy so that we can grow an audience over there.