Kerry Washington plays a high-level “fixer” on ABC’s Scandal, but despite the show’s serious infusion of drama, the job is very real—and very necessary. Status Labs Digital Crisis Expert Darius Fisher is in the profession of delivering second chances to public figures, politicians and executives. Headquartered in Austin with offices in both New York and Sao Paulo, Status Labs specializes in repairing their client’s digital presence, whether it’s on social media or through Google Search results. Here, Fisher reveals how it operates.
What’s the largest mistake you see high-level executives making?
The biggest mistake we see is lack of preparation. Many high-level executives don’t proactively invest in their online reputations. This lack of foresight leaves them susceptible to attacks and bad press. Every executive should audit and monitor his/her web presence and prepare for the worst. Proactively building a fortress, if you will, can mitigate the impact of negative and unflattering press. It’s important that all properties they create are genuinely interesting. Otherwise, they’ll never stand up on their own since user engagement factors heavily into Google’s algorithm.
How do you change Google’s search results?
Changing someone’s search results takes a lot of hard work and planning. Through the creation and promotion of new content, we’re able to feed Google’s search engine with fresh, relevant content relating to the individual. Examples of content include personal websites, social media profiles, press releases, dynamic video content, guest articles and op-ed opportunities on relevant industry websites, earned media hits through our public relations team, among others.
Can you share a specific example of a recent client’s mistake and how you fixed it?
Our client, a businessman, recently had a messy divorce. The media extensively covered it. Our client was very well respected in his industry but otherwise maintained a low profile. Prior to the divorce, there was very little public information about him online or in the media. The bad press filled this vacuum and ranked prominently on the first page of his search results. Articles about his divorce appeared everywhere on page one of his search results. They suddenly defined him.
We helped by showcasing his professional achievements and other personal interests through a dynamic personal websites, content-rich social media profiles, earned media hits in the news, press releases about his business achievements and more. Our curation methods allowed him to take control of his own circumstances, with no mention of his divorce to be found anywhere on the first page of search results by the end of the project.
Have you ever met a new client in a weird way?
I was at the Davos Economic Conference in Switzerland this winter, and I was at a cocktail party, and there I met a well-known entrepreneur at the party. He had issues in his online search results. After speaking to him after the party, I followed up with him after and now he’s a client of ours. A lot of our business is referral-based, because it’s who you get to know and who can refer you. There aren’t a lot of people that do this kind of work, and we are the premier player in this space. So as long as we meet more people, the more people know about us.
Will you ever turn down a client that you believe has actually done something very wrong?
We definitely have moral standards, and we definitely have turned down clients. Most of them, well, you can probably imagine the types of clients we’ve turned down.
What would surprise people most about your job?
I think what would surprise people most about my job is that there’s always two sides to the story. Everything you read in the newspaper or on a blog is not always the full story. Whenever we’re speaking to a client, we’re always trying to give them a second chance by helping them tell their story online.