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Talia Jane Just Set Yelp On Fire

I don’t know this young lady from Adam or Jane. 
I don’t know a thing about Yelp’s corporate culture.
But as an outsider looking in, I can tell you the brand of this company just went southward today – significantly. As an employee got fired after writing a negative review of her salary.
It’s a bit hard to understand. It looks like a temper tantrum. Not a reasoned response to one employees’ perhaps impulsive move.
Think about it. The entire mission of Yelp is to promote customer reviews. More broadly, to encourage the customer to “talk back” to the merchant who sells them goods and services.
Here is an employee doing just that – she is reviewing the values of her company. Maybe in a cheeky way, but nevertheless in line with all the things that Yelp! has taught her.
Now, they’ve canned her.
And as we all know, in any traffic accident both parties look bad. 
But in a corporate traffic accident, the rich CEO always looks worse than the employee.
It’s always easy to stand outside a situation and point fingers. We’re not there; we don’t know if she was trouble from Day One.
All other things being equal, though, if I were in charge of that company I would have talked to this young lady in person. And I would have put that discussion on Periscope.
If she turned out to be halfway intelligent and an otherwise good employee, I would have turned her into a manager, a director, Ombudsperson of Employee Complaints or maybe Boss of Dealing With Angry  Customers.
The fatal mistake that Yelp made with her was to move too abruptly and fail to consider the brand.
Where they are going to take a brand hit for this, she will only go upward.
Copyright 2015 by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. Dr. Blumenthal is founder and president of the consultancy BrandSuccess and co-founder of the brand thought leadership portal All Things Brand. The opinions expressed are her own and not those of any government agency or entity or the federal government as a whole. You can contact Dr. Blumenthal on LinkedIn or here. Image source: Screenshot of Yelp logo.

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