By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD

Toxic CustomersI have had several clients over the years that I fired because they were rude to my employees. Toxic clients don’t just cost you money – they can also drive off your best talent. If you don’t stand up and support your employees, how can you expect them to have your back?

Toxic Client Traits

The top traits of a toxic client are being hard to please, unreasonable, dramatic and impolite. They can decrease morale, company engagement and employee motivation. And employees put the blame on their employers, with 60% saying it was their company’s fault for keeping a problematic client.

Considering the current labor market, it’s a good to deal with a toxic client immediately.

I can remember a night that I had to jump out of bed because a client was screaming at the pressman during a press… Okay – she didn’t quite understand that mixing red and blue would result in purple. I told her we would finish the job because we are professionals, BUT I also told her I never wanted to see her in my pressroom ever again!

Setting reasonable boundaries in the beginning can help.

Toxic clients often add new items to existing projects or ask for irrelevant things to be added beyond the scope of a project. You must be clear that these changes or additions will result in additional charges and possibly impact the due date.

Stand your ground when a toxic client attempts to dominate the situation. It’s also important to keep a copy of your communications to back up your version of events. Clients like these rarely pay you on time and often refuse to follow their contracts.

Over the last 30 years in business, I’ve learned that it’s always better to sever ties with toxic clients. It’s not worth you or your employee’s sanity. Fortunately, after being in business for so long, we only work with clients we love!

Marketing FailsIn the age of digital media, all eyes are observing a brand’s every move. That’s great for brand awareness, but it can easily backfire on a company if they miss the mark, and the retribution is quick and can easily travel to social media platforms.

Here are a few examples of marketing fails that made us wince:

Kendall Jenner TV Spot. Kendall Jenner settles a Black Lives Matter standoff between protesters and police by offering a police office a can of Pepsi. The result? Outrage.

McDonald’s: Filet o Fish TV Spot. A young boy talks to his mother about his dead father and that one of the things they both shared was a love for filet-o-fish sandwiches. Exploiting grief to sell sandwiches left a bad taste in many people on social media.

Ford: Print Misfire. The year of the #MeToo movement, Ford actually ran an ad where three women were bound, gagged and stuffed in the truck of their new Ford Hatchback. What the heck were they thinking? Cringy.

Marketing FailsAnd the absolute worst, customers of Adidas who participated in the Boston Marathon in 2017 received a very poorly worded email from the company – the subject line read.”Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!” This message was sent on the heels of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people and injured more than 250.

Avoid Being Tone-Deaf

Most of these marketing fails bombed because they were essentially tone-deaf. Always consider the implications behind your messaging. When you’re making jokes, look at them from all angles to make sure they won’t offend anyone.

Funny always wins big, but don’t sacrifice your brand’s values and beliefs for a few chuckles!