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The Apprentice Watch: Lessons in damage control

The Apprentice is back on our screens for another episode tonight, and I hope they’ve learnt from last weeks’ dismal performance. The first episode provided enough examples of how not to run a business to fill many blogs, but the key lesson I learnt is how not to handle damage control.

Both teams were guilty of potentially damaging their reputation. For the boys it was the quality control disaster with their product. Several members recognised the ‘It’s a Bus’ bags were of poor quality, yet they chose to hide them in the bulk order with a retail outlet. The result? An angry customer returning all the products she’d brought – big surprise there.

The crux of the issue is simply this – had they thrown the ten shoddy products in the trash (where quite frankly they belonged!) they would have been able to sell the rest of the bags. Yes they won the task at the end of the day, but in the business world this one mistake can damage your reputation and relationship with a potential buyer.

For the girls the biggest issue was what can only be described as their attack on the unsuspecting shop owner. The ‘Sell, Sell, Sell!’ technique they used served only to have them ceremoniously thrown out of the shop, not to mention some rather harsh words from another shop employee.

Nobody wants to be sold to in that way. Instead, most people prefer the softer approach – building a relationship with a brand, understanding their connection with you and coming to the realisation yourself that you need that product / service. Had the girls team not taken the risky approach of pressure selling they may have had more success in selling their products to the shop owner.

reputation is vital to your success. The smallest of things can ruin your brands image in a second and it will take a lot of hard work to claw this back.

The number of social media channels available nowadays provides both an opportunity to build your brand, but also expose you’re flaws. We encourage our clients to find their voice in the industry and get talking through PR – but always remember that once you’ve said or done something it cannot be taken back.

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