Perspectives

I live and work in the state of North Carolina, which this year saw it's Republican-dominated legislature call a special session and enact what has become known as the Bathroom Bill.  It was initiated and signed into law in a single day. It is a misguided piece of legislation that strips a number of well-established workplace rights from citizens, along with the clauses pertaining to transgender people and bathrooms.  From a marketing communications and positioning perspective, it has been an unmitigated disaster for the state, and it has garnered a lot of ironic humor skewering the people and issues the bill supposedly addresses in the form of memes.

Despite the protestations of Governor McCrory to the contrary, the negative fallout was quick and brutal, and the ongoing impact is continuing. Estimates have put the loss of revenue at $5 billion annually from industry and business pullouts, boycotts, and withdrawal of Title IX federal dollars. Other estimates put the cost to the state at 20% of its annual budget. This goes hand in hand with changing the perceptions of the state from moderate to a conservative backwater. This directly negatively impacts its ability to tap into the progressive, forward-looking and innovative thinking required by entrepreneurs and and modern companies seeking employees with competitive skills-sets in a disruptive, 21st Century economy.

While comments sections generate more heat than light, especially in a year in which Donald Trump has made racism and intolerance mainstream again, the growth of a plethora of memes ridiculing the legislation and regressive policies deserves some consideration from a marketing communications and positioning perspective.

Two-factor authentication is a method of enhancing the security of web logins to your site. It separates a website login with another form of identification that a user has such as an email address or better, a mobile phone, which will presumably be in the user's possession.  If you have a website that uses it for customer-facing applications, make sure that your process is capable of managing authentication at peak times.

An example of poor management of this process is Nationwide Insurance, with whom I have personal experience. In the course of the past few months, Nationwide Insurance has twice had failures with its authentication.  This type of failure drives frustration levels up among customers because it is time wasting and that is unnecessary.  Moreover, it occurs at a time when people are parting with cash. While they are waiting - in my instance more than half an hour for two failed login attempts plus a phone call - customers are tempted to search for a competitor who wants their business.  Requiring a phone call is standard, because it enables the provider to validate the account.

I discovered on Twitter today that Integrated Media Strategies' account has been impersonated.  Our account name is @coherentmedia. The impersonator is @zobugelexuci.  I have reported the fake account to Twitter both in my personal capacity - because the tweets on that account are mine - and in a professional capacity, because that account is contravening my copyright through the use of my logo and tagline.

It brings up a few points - the first is to do a regular review of your accounts.  At least annually is a good idea. We do so more regularly, but many small businesses don't build the time in, period. The second is to check if you are receiving unusual email.  The internet can turn up strange activity, but by this I mean if you are getting out of the ordinary requests to connect on social media, follow up and check to see the source, or why. Often it will be innocent, but if not, it's worth catching it before it can do real damage.