She took a lot of heat for it, and it shows how important it is to take a proactive approach to protecting your brand reputation. It’s a lot easier than trying to repair it when something goes wrong.
We All Make Mistakes
It was really easy to hate on Ms. Owen. Her comments seemed nasty and elitist. But do they really represent her as a person?
I’m inclined to say no. I don’t know her, so I will assume she’s generally a nice person and a good leader.
But what happened to her can happy to you. Or me. Or anyone.
We all make mistakes, and they can be made public for anyone in the world to scrutinize and criticize.
The good news you can protect your reputation from public missteps by being proactive.
Maintenance is Easier than Repair
Prior to the “Pity City” incident, Ms. Owen’s LinkedIn feed was populated with mostly corporate messaging and posts that were likely developed and polished by the corporate PR or communications team.
It had no soul or personality.
Instead, she should have been continually sharing stories, celebrating her employees, and using her own voice and experiences to inspire others.
That would have helped build her reputation enough to show that she was a real person who just made a mistake.
Start Before the Damage is Done
Your reputation is all you have. As a leader, it reflects not just on you, but your whole company. And it can get shattered in an instant, often through no fault of your own.
But you can protect it simply by making a point to show the world who you are. It takes a little effort, but it’s a lot easier than trying to repair your reputation after the damage is done.