August 18, 2005
Last week’s Tennessee jailbreak – you remember the former prison nurse who married one of the inmates and then shot a couple of prison guards – took an unexpected marketing turn when a reporter interviewed the taxi driver who took the escapees to Ohio.
The couple told him they were going to an Amway convention in Columbus. And that’s when things started to sound a little suspicious to the unwitting taxi driver. He told a reporter (and I’m paraphrasing here, but the gist is right) that the pair didn’t try to sell him anything, didn’t try to recruit him as a dealer and weren’t pushy like all the other Amway people he’d ever met.
That’s what tipped him off that something was wrong with the situation. Not the woman’s leg wound. Not the jail uniform that her husband, the inmate, was surely wearing. Not the fact that they wanted him to drive them 115 miles across a state line.
That they weren’t pushy like all the other Amway people he’d ever met.
Now if I’m Amway, I’m hating this. This is not the kind of buzz you want out there. And it’s not that this is new buzz – it’s been around for awhile about Amway dealers. But the escaped convict story just takes it to the next level.
That’s the power of word of mouth. It can surely work for you, but it can also work against you. Are you taking notice of the negative perceptions that are out there in the marketplace about you and your competitors? Are they true? Can they be remedied? Can they be replaced with more positive stories? Who’s going to be your taxi driver?