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How Well's Fargo will Survive a Stagecoach Robbery

Step one after your reputation is publicly eviscerated: retain a lawyer, a crisis manager, a PR shop, and an online reputation management agency like mine, Gerris Corp. Step two: turn away from evil-doing and turn towards kindness, sincerity, transparency, and trustworthiness as soon as humanly possible. Fake contrition can get you through a couple months if you throw your retirement fund and all the money you can get from mortgaging all your real estate and homes. However, becoming a better person, at least through real public deeds and works that benefit real communities, real employees, real consumers, and our most vulnerable, is a start that will give you a second life. Lazarus-level shit.

This is neither a homily nor a sermon. This has to do with online reputation management and crisis response. This has to do with human, not divine, contrition.

Even F. Scott Fitzgerald is quoted as saying, “I once thought that there were no second acts in American lives, but there was certainly to be a second act to New York’s boom days.” This is doubly true in our post-Great Recession NYC. In all ways, in all people, America is the land of the second chance. How many lives has Rudy Giuliani had? Donald Trump?

You Never Deserve Forgiveness

If you’re suffering from an online crisis, the first thing you need to do is call me at Gerris Corp, +1 202-352-5051, and get an online reputation management campaign started. The second thing is to actually repair your reputation through turning your life around, be it your own personal behavior or the way you do your business, treat your customers, prepare your food, bill your clients, or fulfill your promises.

If you think paying $10,000-$40,000/month is a lot of money “just” to push down bad search results about you and your brand on Google past page two or replacing it with positive or neutral content is expensive, think about how much a complete foundational change is going to cost you.

Well, the Wells Fargo Wagon Is A-Coming Down the Street

My business bank, Wells Fargo, is doing its rounds in the wake of their recent debacle. I’ve seen commercials about their 166-year tradition of trust and how they’re committed to re-establishing their bank to the extent that the tagline of their recent national commercial campaign is “Wells Fargo, established 1852. Re-established 2018.” Via the Charlotte Observer, here’s the commercial that you’re probably seeing on heavy rotation.

Fool Me Once, Shame on You; Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me

Personally, I have no grievance with Wells Fargo. They’ve been a good bank to Gerris. While Wells Fargo never actually says “I’m sorry” at any point during the commercial, there is a straightforwardness and a willingness to face the issue head-on that I don’t think I’ve seen any other banks do publicly since 2007.

So many apologies these days are rife with performative language.  Like when someone says “I’d like to apologize for setting fire to the orphanage.” This isn’t actually an apology it’s just someone saying that they’d like to be forgiven.

While my team can affect a great deal of change in negative search results using enterprise-level online reputation management  through our search remediation services to countermand and counter-message, doing this forever is extremely resource-intensive.

I’ll be honest with you: I believe anyone and everyone deserves a defense no matter how ‘indefensible’ they seem. But unless they’re perfectly OK with paying me $30,000/month forever, true contrition demands metanoia.

Not Just Simple Elegance or Refinement of Movement

If you’ll excuse my insolence, let me redefine Grace: “our free and unmerited favor as manifested in the forgiveness of bad actors and the bestowal of our blessings.” If you’ve been caught with your hand in the cookie jar, the only way you’ll be able to achieve Grace is to show grace in the face of adversity and do something to earn it as well. In the penal system, after you’ve served your time, you still must serve your parole.  And, even while in prison, you can shorten your sentence with good conduct time, good time credit, or time off for good behavior.

Turn Around, Open Your Eyes, Look at Me Now

Metanoia is a Greek word from metanoein ‘to change one’s mind; “a transformative change of heart.’ I was taught it meant a turning away from evil and toward good, in a Judeo-Christian context as in “change in one’s way of life resulting from penitence or spiritual conversion.”

When I am in sales calls, weekly calls, or even with the crisis team, I remind clients that, at the end of the day, we’re going to need to build something real in the place of the razed building. If you’re caught building condos out of code in San Francisco with no real concern for earthquake preparedness, zero funds being spent on modern engineering for earthquake safety, and a blind eye to California building codes, then just waiting it out and throwing thousands of dollars at online reputation management (ORM) agencies like Gerris is only the first step of many.

Online reputation management is the lap band surgery of reputation management. It quickly and expensively converts the morbidly obese person into a fit fiddle. It’s aggressive intervention into an untenable situation. It’s meatball recovery. However, over the long-term, after given the head start of instant body health, the next steps include therapy to see why you became morbidly obese, a fitness regime to keep your heart and lungs healthy, and a nutrition plan to make sure healthy choices become not only de rigueur for longevity but also second nature.

Now, baby we can do it. Take the time, do it right. We can do it, baby. Do it tonight.


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Chris Abraham

About Chris Abraham

A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and advisor to the industries' leading firms. He specializes in Web 2.0 technologies, including content syndication; organize search engine optimization (SEO), online reputation management (ORM), content marketing, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media.

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