the danger of endorsements and managing an online presence

I was with the CEO of a respected and successful consultancy, recruitment and interim management group yesterday. One of the topics that came up was how to describe what you do in a succinct way – what most marketing consultants call the elevator pitch.

Surprisingly, since his firm has been around for two decades and done pretty well, he said how difficult he found it given that they have a wide range of services that straddle a couple of vertical sectors. His solution:

‘I don’t attempt to anymore as most people’s first reaction having met you is to go and check you and your company out on Google and LinkedIn’.

It made me reflect on how much we are now influenced by what we read online and what others say about us. I shared with him a recent experience I had with a business who’d been on the receiving end of an unpleasant review on Trip Advisor.  Rather than responding she’d maintained a terrified silence and had got to the point where she dreaded the sound her phone made when she’d got a new review. We talked through the need to be more proactive to field the punches and be willing and able to mobilise your ‘Brand Advocates’ who will rise to your defence (if you’ve created a positive enough image and been open when you screw up).

With that in mind I agreed to do an interview this week with a newly launched website findtheedge that is targeted at business leaders and aims to draw on the personal experiences of a panel of experts in their respective fields. The outputs can be found here: How to Create Innovative Knowledge Management Solutions Using Stories.

What I liked was the way they catalogued the interview making it easier for the reader to get to grips with the subject and the highlights. Most people are up tight when they give interviews; we are our own harshest critics and from painful experiences I can recall instances when the mouth has overtaken the brain.  This time I was pleased to see the editors highlighted the following as it encapsulates knowledge management for me:

“In a nutshell, it’s the ability to pull together the critical knowledge assets that you as a business have, and how you make sure that they are shared in the best possible way”

And finally back to yesterday’s meeting and testimonials. While we saw the value of the written testimonial as it shows on LinkedIn we were highly sceptical of the veracity of the click skill endorsement approach. His example:

though I run a business that has an information management consultancy how can I be considered an expert especially since the people endorsing me have never seen me in action.

I’d be surprised if it stays on the LinkedIn profile for too much longer.