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Being Transparent is Key for Online Brand Success

June 8, 2011 | By | One Comment

Last Friday, June 3rd, Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas in Austin, Texas posted a video on YouTube of a call they received from a disgruntled customer.  The genius of the video is that the angry customer refused to follow protocol in the theater with her cell phone; leaving the theater little choice but to ask her to leave.  The video “Don’t Talk-Angry Voicemail” began trending on YouTube with 924,852 views, around 2,200 comments, and 3,200 likes versus 140 dislikes (6/8/2011).

Tim League, Founder and CEO of Alamo Drafthouse made an aggressive decision for his brand to deal with audio and visual in-theater distractions by simply removing the patrons from the cinema.  In order to prove his point League was proactive instead of reactive in dealing with a disgruntled customer who; broke the rules, was warned about texting, continued to disobey the Drafthouse’s requests and she was asked to leave.   The call was put into a video format (with some funny closed captioning text) and posted to the web by Drafthouse (transparency) on their YouTube Channel.  A few days later the Alamo Drafthouse posted this video message from their CEO:

Sure a few people have complained about the company’s actions (someone has to do it), but most of the comments are positive and point out that people need to be more courteous when using their mobile devices in public.  I remember when cell phones first came out, my mother would yell into the thing not realizing it had a microphone.  It was so embarrassing because I knew how annoying and rude she seemed screaming everywhere she went, but it made me aware of the importance of mobile device courtesy.  If you were in a meeting with clients, you wouldn’t sit at the table the entire time texting.  You wouldn’t pull out your phone in the middle of communion and update your Facebook status, “Breaking Bread @ Church”.

No matter what business you are, more than likely you will deal with customer(s) like the “Don’t Talk” lady.  Most businesses would just let the upset customer go vent and say whatever they wanted about the brand (whether the customer was right or wrong).  In this digital era we cannot afford as businesses to let this happen.  As a company or brand you need to allow the “Fans” or happy customers be the powerful voice growing your business online.  Online conversations of bad experiences kill businesses globally. Total Media monitoring, management, and engagement are the best ways to drive traffic and conversations.  If you do not listen, learn, and engage you will sink.

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