I recently kicked-off this blog with some meandering thoughts about how we got here, what the White Hat Trolls are all about, and how I think Weezer’s cover of Rosanna is better than their cover of Africa, etc. I posted it on a Friday. Conventional wisdom says not to do anything on a Friday (except maybe thank God and go casual). Going forward, I hope to have a new bit of Troll-think for you earlier in the week. Until then, here is a Thursday night blog post about the five brand defenders with whom we’d like to work.
The White Hat Trolls slash, bludgeon, and hack at our clients’ ideas and materials before the trolls out there in the wild get their chance. We’re like the good guy rogues in the classic 1992 Phil Alden Robinson film, Sneakers.
We’re wildly optimistic as to how many brands — both organizational and individual — could take excellent advantage of our services. There are certain specific individuals, though, whom we believe should get in touch with us right away. Here’s how we’d break that group down into a nice, shamelessly SEO’d listicle:
1. C-level executives with a brand that’s about to do something new/different
With brands, as with almost everything in business, any time you do something new or different, there’s a degree of risk. Start talking about a new thing, to a new group of people, or more loudly than you’ve spoken before, and you run the risk of saying the wrong thing. At White Hat Trolls, we want to see you succeed — not have to apologize. We want to see your content shared because it’s ? or ?, not because it’s ? or ?.
— Ad Age (@adage) June 13, 2018
Whatever you’re about to do, we know your people have looked at it, but their people looked at this stuff, too. We’ll look at it differently, coming at it from every angle we can imagine, to help make sure there’s nothing you missed.
2. C-level executives with a brand already in crisis
OK, so, you didn’t call us (or we weren’t around yet), and there was something you missed, and all hell broke loose.
Your brand trended for all the wrong reasons. You pulled the product, deleted the post, apologized for the ads in all the magazines, and somebody important has resigned to spend more time with their family.
But that was then… This is now, and now, it’s almost go-time again. You’ve got your next big thing, ready to go, but you’re hesitating. You know they’re all watching, looking for any chance to call you out, again. Your competition. Your detractors. The trades. The folks running the @whitehattrolls Twitter account. You have to show them all that you learned something from your mistake — that the financial hit your brand took was tuition, as they say.
As a baseball fan, the image of a batter stepping back into the box after being plunked (or worse, beaned) comes to mind. The ball’s going to come at you just as fast as it did when you got hit. Will you flinch? Or will you stand there with confidence, ready to swing away? You can think of the White Hat Trolls as one of those big elbow pads that crowds the strike zone, or the new cheek protector thingy that so many batters have bolted to their helmets, these days.
We’ll help you feel secure again at the plate, so you can put the next heater into the bleachers.
After getting hit by Mike Fiers earlier in the game, Giancarlo Stanton demolishes this ball and stares him down ?? pic.twitter.com/O6dv7zg6wq
— Baseball King™ (@BasebaIlKing) June 5, 2018
3. Board members overseeing the abovementioned execs
Boards are put in place to help ensure the organization’s stakeholders — from prospects and current customers, to partners and suppliers, to the owners of the company — have good leaders making good decisions on their behalf.
From a brand value perspective, being on a board of directors is a symbiotic relationship. You contribute the value of your name, experience, judgment, and credibility to the organization in question. In return, you enhance your own personal brand (and that of your organization, if you represent one of your own) by being there.
But when the organization suffers a brand crisis, and you’re on the board, you take that hit, as well — especially if you’re the board member responsible for the operational area where the crisis originated.
You don’t want that, and if you’re already recovering from such a crisis, you sure don’t want another one. Not on your watch.
But remember: you’re on the board because of your great track record of making good decisions. And now you know about White Hat Trolls, and how we specialize in pointing out bad decisions, so you know what must be done. You know the good decision that should be made. And by gum, you’re just the director to do it.
4. High-profile individuals looking to stay high-profile for the right reasons
You’re a celebrity. An influencer. A household name, at least in the households you care about. You’ve either built a personal brand by doing a thing — acting, directing, singing, being a sports superstar, getting yourself elected, being the face of a major organization, etc. — or you’re one of those for whom having a personal brand is why you’re famous in the first place.
I had a very good convo with @jack this weekend at Kanye’s bday and I think he really heard me out on the edit button.
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) June 13, 2018
In either case, you probably have people who help you make decisions about what to do and say next. Maybe even people to help you do and say it? In the end, the results will be on you, though, not them.
We can’t walk around next to you to police your personal tweets and Instagram stories. We can, however, opine upon your plan for such things. Considering your next Hollywood project? We’ll try to get ahead of the punchlines and the memes that might follow. As for politicians and other public figures, well… We think we can certainly do better than whoever it was who thought this was a good idea:
5. People who want to pay to hear us talk about this
Your in-house team is good, but they’ve let a few bad bags of spinach leave the farm. Your senior staff shoots straight, but that next level down is scared witless to raise a hand and point out a problem. Or maybe it’s you, C-level exec, board member, or celebrity? Perhaps you’re afraid of what you don’t know, and you want a personal consultation so you can up your game. (Out of your team’s earshot, of course.)
We can come to you and lead a White Hat Troll boot camp. We can explore case studies from within your world. And we’re happy to help you strategize for an important meeting or event.
The greatest indicator of our success will be when a client no longer needs our services. That will mean they’ve learned to think through their work as we would, which is as the world will. The edgy, angry, immature, and awful parts of the world, that is. If coming in to show you how to mix the special sauce gets you there faster than mixing it up ourselves, we’re happy to oblige.
TED/TEDx talks and keynote speeches at massive Las Vegas conventions and offsite meetings are also OK, I guess. If they work for my schedule.
We’re White Hat Trolls — we don’t bite
It can’t hurt to reach out to us and have a conversation.
It can really hurt if you don’t.