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Trust, Website Security, and SEO

by Randall Craig on March 10, 2017

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet,

Tagged as: , , , ,

Whether real world or on the web, trust is a powerful factor. For users of the popular Chrome browser, Google recently made a change that is sure to give many people pause.  Consider the image below: for the first time, the word “secure” appears within the URL bar.
Secure site

Contrast this, with this next screen shot, that does not say secure:

Nestle website - not secure?

The key difference between these two sites is that the first site (mine) is encrypted (look at the URL that starts with “https”), while the second example (Nestle) is not encrypted at all.  Yikes!

Even worse is when a website is not encrypted, and asks the user for their password.  The URL bar explicitly says Not Secure:

While there are a few technical challenges – and additional costs – to serving the entire site in a secure, encrypted fashion, we strongly recommend that this be done immediately.  Chrome – and likely all browsers in the future – will more explicitly show the page’s security status: not secure is a brand-weakening, trust-losing epithet.

This week’s action plan:  Open the Chrome browser, go to a few random pages of your website, and then to your site’s log-in or subscribe page.  Does the word Secure appear in the URL bar of the browser?  If not, then insist that this change be made as a priority.  If it is there, congratulations – you get a bonus. Google will reward your site with an SEO boost, just because it is secure.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders





Reputation Rescue

by Randall Craig on March 11, 2016

Filed in: Blog, Branding, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Social Media

Tagged as: , , ,

Have you ever been in a situation where your personal reputation has been called into question online?  Or your organization’s brand is under attack from a special interest group, and it is emerging somewhat battered?  Not good.
Of course, the best way to build a great reputation is to do everything “right” in the first place.  But no organization (or person) is perfect, and sometimes reputational attacks occur for no other reason than someone sees you as an easy target.
So how might you rescue your reputation?
  1. Come clean:  Particularly if there was fault, being transparent and compassionate can go a long way.  When this doesn’t happen, the naysayers will assume that you are either hiding something, or are insensitive.  The goal is to ensure that your reaction (or lack of action) does not become the issue.
  2. Fix:  If your reputational problem is because of an ongoing issue, fixing the issue is the only way to prevent continuous erosion. If the issue caused harm to a person or a group, fixing may also mean making it right in their eyes, possibly with compensation.
  3. Monitor:  The only way to solve a problem is if you know that the problem exists in the first place.  And who is behind the trouble, and where they are from.  Tools such as Google Alerts and Hootsuite can help, but time for a specific person to actually do the monitoring must be allocated.
  4. Bury the evidence: While people have short memories, Google does not.  So when people search online, and do not find your side of the story (e.g. the fact that you came clean and you fixed the underlying issue), people may assume the worst of you.  They may then add their voice to the mix on social media, further propagating the problem.  Burying the evidence means squeezing out the harmful posts by adding your own content.  How to do it? Ask friends/employees/members/ambassadors to post, add your perspective via your blog, and use a social media Anchors and Outposts strategy.
  5. Key stakeholder outreach:  While part of the rescue strategy may be broad-based communications (press releases, social media, etc), key stakeholders such as employees, clients, members, suppliers, partners, regulators, etc, deserve more.  Sharing information with them is the first step in engaging them to advocate on your behalf.  And for some, it is also a critical retention strategy.
  6. Redirect to the good: Sometimes a great defence is a strong offence.  This means propagating great brand stories, so that your audiences will see a more balanced you.  It may also mean starting more visible public initiatives, or aligning yourself with other, more positive brands or organizations. (More on Brand Transfer strategy.)
  7. Rebrand:  Sometimes your reputation can’t be salvaged, or the cost of salvaging the reputation is so great that it makes more sense to jettison the old name, and choose a new name with more strongly attached positive values.
  8. Make internal changes:  How might you prevent the lapse that caused the reputational injury from recurring?  The answer is accountability.  This may mean appointing someone responsible, as many organizations have done in the area of environmental responsibility.  Or it may also mean letting someone go – to signal that you are holding a person to account.
This week’s action item:  It is better, and far less stressful, when you are prepared.  This week, do a crisis rehearsal: how would you execute each of these steps?  What do you need to have in place now? And who else would you need to involve?
Marketing insight #1: While most organizations don’t have a reputational problem, and it might be tempting to file this Tipsheet in your crisis management folder, don’t.  While these steps are critical to rescue your reputation, they can also be used to make a good reputation great – especially when nothing is wrong.
Marketing insight #2:  An inconvenient truth about reputation: reputation is directly tied to the strength of an organization’s (or person’s) values.  If the values are poorly defined, if they are weak, or if they are not intrinsically adopted by each person within the organization, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the expression of that weakness is a weak reputation.  Strength on the outside requires strength on the inside.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders


Viewpoint: the Unintended Consequences of Low Fidelity

by Randall Craig July 10, 2015

It wasn’t that many years ago that both people and organizations craved higher and higher fidelity: 7.1 Dolby Digital sound, Ultra High Definition TV screens, and so on. Today though, mobile (and digital) is driving size in the other direction: smaller. An unintended consequence, however, is that the fidelity of the user experience has also dramatically shifted downwards: Mobile phone operators […]

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