Last month I wrote about how the situation involving long-time Subway ad spokesperson Jared Fogle had implications for B2B brands.

I was literally just now reminded of another reason why. Before I continue, if you’re a B2Ber, stop and ask yourself the following question:

Who’s managing our social media presence?

Here’s why: Fogle is facing federal charges for some very serious charges, which you can read more about here. For my own morbid curiosity, I went to @SUBWAY this morning and saw its post regarding the matter:

We no longer have a relationship with Jared and have no further comment.

Kind of a cop out, considering Subway profited off of Jared’s story for 15 years. But then I went to @SUBWAY over lunch, about an hour ago, and saw a cavalcade of some pretty offensive RTs. As quickly as I copied/pasted them into an MS Word doc, they disappeared, presumably deleted by a panicked agency rep or in-house social media person. I PDF’d them, which you can read here: SUBWAY retweeted 1 p.m. CT 8.19.2015

Can’t imagine how that happened. A setting that automatically RTs, perhaps? Perhaps.

But so what? I saw them and I’m guessing a lot of other people did. F-bombs and off-color jokes aren’t what you want associated with your brand, and you definitely don’t want that appearing in your Twitter feed, before they suddenly disappear like it never happened, in order to cover multiple derrieres. That’s not social media best practices – recognizing the mistake and apologizing for it is.

So if you’re managing a B2B brand, once again I ask you:

Who’s managing your social media presence? Do they know what they’re doing? And how do you know? Can you make them prove they know how the technology works and they understand social media best practices?

In our social, shareable world, brand perception absolutely depends on the answers to those questions.

P.S. I just checked @SUBWAY again to see if there was a mea culpa for the RTs, and here’s what was posted:

Jared Fogle’s actions are inexcusable and do not represent our brand’s values. We had already ended our relationship with Jared.



amazon-logoTSN Communications made some really good points in a blog entry it posted last week about web design. The bottom line is that form follows function; the look is dictated by what you want your followers to do when they are there.

I loved the line that “Buy stuff” isn’t exactly the right answer when it comes to what you want your visitors to do at your site. No, the more important thing is to have each and every visitor positively engage with your brand which may – or may not! – result in a sale.

Why? I made the point in a recent client meeting that we live in a social, shareable world, and this isn’t only social media, mind you. Think of review sites and even message boards – places where information, and links, are shared with abandon.

Would you be willing to sacrifice one potential sale to get a dozen more when a person raves about your site where they congregate online, especially via mobile?

A brand isn’t what you say it is – it’s what “they” say it is. Wherever they say it, online or offline.

I think the example of Amazon in particular is a good one when it comes to this equation. The design is clean, search functionality is simple, and it seems I can always find what I’m seeking – my end goal, which again, is not necessarily a sale. That even extends to the simplicity of the name, how it rolls off the tongue, and its color palette.

But how do you think Amazon became, well, Amazon? Word travels fast online, and by extension, offline. I myself have raved about Amazon in both arenas.

Another good example is Google, which has always had that simple, easy-to-use interface. The brand engagement has turned the Google name into Kleenex, a catch-all term for search. Really, who uses Yahoo! for search anymore? I use Yahoo! for email, but I’ll open a separate browser to Google a search term. (Note use of Google as a verb.)

Like TSN’s blog post said, “really cool” websites with lots of bells and whistles aren’t necessarily building the brand. It’s what visitors take away and say later that matters.


Subway’s Jared is a Cautionary Tale for B2B Brands

July 13, 2015

I observed with interest last week the situation involving long-time Subway ad spokesperson Jared Fogle, and it became quickly apparent that this tale has implications for B2B brands. Namely, take particular care when you choose to associate a personality as a spokesperson for your brand. By now, you know Fogle’s story. He weighed more than […]

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Simple Messages Build Brands in Today’s Shareable World

June 28, 2015

I was making a presentation at a new client’s offices this past week, and we were talking about the importance of delivering key messages consistently, across all communications mediums, whether that’s a humble press release, an ad or a social media post. This is the lifeblood of not only PR and B2B marketing communications but […]

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Book Review: Romancing the Brand

June 7, 2015

My note: I’m always on the lookout for good, strong brand thinking and it looks like my Cameroonian colleague Patrick Mayoh is as well. This is a book I’d not heard of previously, but you can bet that thanks to Patrick’s review, I’m going to add it to my list of must-reads. How to make […]

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#BMA15: A Whole New Train of Thought: Delivering Customer Outcomes

May 27, 2015

Speak the customer’s language. Tell the stories that matter to them. Find the outcomes and then design a solution. Those were the key takeaways from this afternoon’s #BMA keynote from Russell Stokes, president and CEO of GE Transportation, a $5 billion division of GE, and Kristi Lundgren, a GE Transportation marketing executive, titled A Whole […]

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#BMA15: The Changing Face of B2B Marketing

May 27, 2015

Here’s a freaky stat: The average person spends more time online than TV and all other media (newspapers, magazines, etc.) combined. There is even statistical data to back it up, courtesy of Jim Lecinski, Google VP of U.S. sales and service: Digital time: 5 hours, 38 minutes TV time: 4 hours, 15 minutes Newspapers: 11 […]

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#BMA15: Stand Out and Win More New Business

May 27, 2015

Agencies have it tougher today than ever before to not only win new business, but to even be in the hunt. According to Steve and Robin Boehler from Mercer Island Group in their #BMA15 presentation this morning Stand Out and Win More New Business, there are four growth-limiting problems agencies face today: 1. It’s tougher […]

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An Ability to Connect the Dots Leads to Innovation, Brand Building

May 5, 2015

Just finished a remarkable little book which proved to me that the ability to innovate and thus build a brand – corporate, product, personal, etc. – comes down to processes that connect the dots. That was the point of Madan Birla’s short book (149 pp.) Unleashing Creativity and Innovation. “Groundbreaking new ideas are the results […]

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#BMA15: Listening Is the Zen Needed to Build B2B Brands

April 13, 2015

I just got my media credentials for the Business Marketing Association’s BMA15 B2B conference, slated for May 27-29 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, and I couldn’t be more excited. I guest-blogged at BMA14 and was amazed at how much I got out of the experience by simply by doing one thing: Listening. Sounds […]

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