At our conference this summer Dan Cobley, MD of Google said that products with one bad review online will sell more than products with no reviews at all.
This would seem to endorse the cliché that no publicity is bad publicity. (I’m not sure that the royal family would agree with that this month, but then they probably don’t need the publicity).
It is certainly true that if you can build a relationship with your worst critics they can become your biggest fans.
As Don Peppers points out here, a single complainer now can have a disproportionate effect on your reputation. Handled properly however, “as soon as the company does something to contradict that point of view–reaching out to handle the complaint proactively, for instance, or apologizing sincerely and trying to make things right–its action has the potential to completely reverse the customer’s mindset, violating the customer’s expectations once again, but this time in a positive manner. The more a business contradicts the customer’s own pessimistic expectations, the more noticeable and memorable its initiative will be”.
If someone bothers to complain about you, at least they are not indifferent.
I was asked the other day whether I thought you could build a career from getting yourself known rather than focussing on the work. Of course I replied that it’s the work that you should get known for. I was reminded of one very successful person I worked for once (who has gone on to be the global CMO of a world class organisation), let’s call him Fred, and let’s say he started his career at agency ABC. Fred had apparently done the rounds at his first Media Week and Campaign awards season saying to anyone who looked influential “Have you heard about that new chap Fred at ABC ? He’s taking the industry by storm”.
It didn’t do Fred any harm, but I’m not recommending it.
However it is worth remembering that most of the excellent people in our business are “Marmite”. Don’t get crushed by the odd complaint.
Anyway, as George Carlin puts it, people who say they don’t care what people think are usually desperate to have people think they don’t care what people think.