Look in a crisis preparedness and management textbook – assuming you can find one in these days of digital learning – and you will read that a business can lose the battle for public opinion in two hours.
I consider that hogwash, not to mention a recipe for disaster if you operate your business with a belief that you have 120 minutes to “control” or mitigate a situation such as cockroaches crawling up your restaurant wall. Or irate customers who believe that you pulled a bait and switch with your marketing.
Why? Because in 2013, look at what your customers are carrying. Smart phone. Feature phone. Actually I call them all megaphones.
And, as brand marketers and small and medium-sized business owners, they are tools to hurt us or make us in seconds, not minutes or hours.
That has never been truer than today given Instagram’s addition of video to its popular photo-taking service used by more than 100 million mobile phone owners.
Sure, this was a worry yesterday when consumers could download the Vine app and shoot and post video nearly instantly. But Instagram is way more popular and video posts are about to go mainstream.
What are we to do about it? We must deliver at what I call the “Moments of Trust”, touchpoints between consumers and businesses that impact sales and loyalty. Perform at the highest levels and your store and employees can win over not just the person on your premises who is taking video, but also those who he or she will impact when the 15 seconds or less of footage get seen by others after it is posted.
And don’t for a second believe that video taking will be too complicated for your customers. It’s not. It’s as simple as downloading an app, opening up Instagram, tapping on a movie camera icon, and the mobile user is a moviemaker. Not Steve Spielberg. Not Oliver Stone. Instead, somebody more important to you than those guys – customers who not only have a say, but also a “shot” at making or breaking you.
Are you ready? Can you afford not to be?
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program http://Goo.gl/t3fgW, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.