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Don't let your business pull a 'Heath Shaw'

Posted on January 01, 2014

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past week, you would have heard about the latest betting scandal at the Collingwood Football Club. For those of you who do have the displeasure of living under a rock, I will summarise:

"Collingwood player Heath Shaw has been suspended for eight matches and fined $20,000 after being embroiled in a betting scandal also involving captain Nick Maxwell. Shaw and a friend bet $10 each on Maxwell kicking the first goal of the round 10 game against Adelaide, knowing his teammate was to start in the forward line. Shaw also passed on that information to friends, who also laid minor bets." Read more:

So what can we learn from this as a business? Don't make stupid bets? Don't be involved in 'insider' trading? Well yes, but that's not the point of this article. I am talking about Reputation Management.

1. Monitor Media Channels

On the day the story broke (Friday 15th July 2011), Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and the rest of the Internet including every major online news outlet was overflowing with talk around the scandal. Not to mention the myriad of football and sporting forums creating thread after thread discussing the event and the fallout. In Heath's case, monitoring and managing the outpouring of content, would not have done anything but make him more depressed. In the case of a business, it's vital that you monitor channels to enable you respond, or at the very least, plan you next steps in managing the issue. Simple things like setting up Google Alerts, monitoring mentions on social media channels regularly can mean the difference between a tweet, and the next viral complaint letter!

2. Be careful what you share

As many players do, Heath Shaw has his own website. On the website is everything you would need to know about the player, and its a step I certainly condone in theory. One mistake in this case was the publishing of live 'fan tweets' on the homepage of the website (I am sure you can imagine the tone of these tweets when the scandal broke). Creating a further issue was the way Heath had setup his Facebook Fan Page. When a new user visits the page on Facebook, they are greeted by the 'Fan Comments Wall', which produced much the same result as the live 'Fan Tweets'. As a business, ensure you know what and how you are sharing. We want to ensure that you are not hiding what the public is saying, but there is certainly a time and a place.

3. SEO is ALWAYS important

Do a Google Search for 'Heath Shaw' today and you are greeted by all those 'Betting Scandal' stories and blog posts. It's not the best light to portray Heath's 'brand' - even if it is true. As a business, it is so vitally important that you always ensure that if a customer is searching for your 'brand' they are able to find you, and other positive information. By being active in SEO regularly, you can ensure that you are in control, to one extent, the information that people find first. Running a business is a lot like football. You take it one week at a time, have your ups and downs, and always looking to become a better player. By taking the above steps, you will prevent yourself from 'Pulling a Heath Shaw', and in turn, secure the future of your business.

About the Author

James Richardson

Sales Director

James Richardson started his online career by running online Sports Fan sites (luckily none are still online today), with the pinnacle of the site being a write up in the Sunday Herald Sun 'Wired' column.

His professional career began at a ASX listed company, Melbourne IT, where he held various senior roles across the Sales and Marketing teams, before deciding to venture out on his own.

Running several successful online websites and businesses himself, he is well placed at understanding your business needs.

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