It’s the little things that can make or break an organization’s image and reputation

I’ve written in the past about employee "ambassadors" and how important every individual’s role is in shaping an organization’s image and reputation with customers. A boorish receptionist can kill a new business experience. An impolite account executive can damage an existing relationship. Even a poorly worded communiqué can undo months or years of trust between client and agency.

So, when I received an unsolicited pitch letter from the Flatiron Database Marketing Company, I thought it would make for a good example of what not to do.

Beyond the hype and hyperbole in the letter from the telemarketing firm, what struck me was theFmletter_1  abysmal quality of the paper stock and type. The ink was smudged in several places and many words were virtually impossible to read. In fact, I just noticed that some of the ink rubbed off on my shirt and has left a permanent mark. What a nice way to start my day.

Does Flatiron Database Marketing actually expect someone to react positively to such a solicitation? ‘Oh boy, those guys who just sent me the illegible letter with the ink that just rubbed off and ruined my shirt would be ideal to help me build sales.’ C’mon. This correspondence deserves to be framed and displayed in the National Sales Hall of Shame’s unsolicited pitch letters wing.

Last, but not least, I simply don’t believe telemarketing is appropriate in my field. My rationale is simple: I don’t do business with people who cold call me, so why should I expect some prospect to act differently?

The Flatiron letter was a distasteful reminder of how important the little things are to an organization’s overall image. Hey, do you think they’ll pay for my shirt’s dry cleaning? If they do, I promise to visit the Hall of Shame.

11 thoughts on “It’s the little things that can make or break an organization’s image and reputation

  1. What goes around comes around, as they say. Flatiron doesn’t exist anymore, he was wvicted and additionallly, he was evicted from his apartment in Tudor City. The sleazebag, Fred Lemont, is now living in New England living off of his most recent wife and her money. Hope she catches on sometime soon and just puts him out on the street where he belongs. Anyone know what happened to the other sleaze, Paul Romero – what a sick bastard he was.

  2. We fired Fred Lemont and his flim-flam Flatiron DBM ( These guys are totally disreputable and should be avoided like a bad case of the swine flu. Aside from the fact we had to correct most of their pathetic databases, the appointments they made for us were a huge waste of time. When we shared our concerns with Fred he tauntingly said it really didn’t matter what we thought because there was no way to sue him. Steer clear of Lemont and his sidekick Guy. You don’t want to be associated with ilk of this nature.

  3. I’ve been in business for 22 years and have been fairly successful. That success was based partly on my paranoia. But, boy, was I taken by Flatiron, and the tin man owner Fred Lemont. We signed with him in March. We were guaranteed 500 names. After yelling and screaming, we received a list in June. Needless to say, it was worthless. By then, I knew this was a con job. We received absolutely 0 leads for our $3,500 expense. Lemont with his partner Guy are the consummate tin men. He claims to have been one of the Wells Rich & Green founders. He has more stories than Aesop. The difference is his are all fiction.

  4. I am also a former employee of FDM. I was lucky. I not only got paid in full, the scum bag even gave me two weeks pay. Why, the scumbag was genuinely afraid of what I would do. Also, I live only two blocks from where he lives in Tudor City. As you have said, he is the worst. The saying there was that you knew when Fred was lieing because his lips were moving. The other slug is his “friend” Paul Roman who has a sick hold on Fred and keeps quitting or getting fored and then shakes him doen for more money to come back. Anyone goin in there should know that it’s a quickly revolving door and to BEWARE. They are both disreputable, without any conscience and nothing but parasites taking advantage of and using people who are deperate for work.

  5. In response to Stephen Cody’s June 22, 2006 blog: I know from personal experience the kind of slipshod operation that Flatiron Database Marketing is because I am a former employee. Fred Lemont, the president of the company, has yet to pay me the money that he owes me. I as well as other staff members have sought legal action against Lemont, and we still have not received our backpay. Furthermore, he owes sums of money to the IRS, utility and waste management companies, and a former landlord(he was evicted from his office space last June.) Another former employee wrote about Lemont’s business practices on the website. You will do well to put a wide berth between yourself and this company. Fred Lemont is the poorest excuse for a business executive I have ever encountered.

  6. hmm repman. thats a pretty curious comment about reporters breathing easier now considering the fact that i was the one the agency turned to when accounts needed media hits…what does that say about my former collagues?

  7. Excellent points, Stacy. I’m sure there are loads of reporters who are breathing a little easier right now knowing the I-man isn’t about to cold call them with a media pitch that doesn’t fit their needs.

  8. Ah, I-Man, it seems as though you’ve been out of the business for a while. Good PR people certainly do not cold-call reporters. Cold calling is blindly calling a person without knowing what their interests are. How many times have you received a cold call from a telemarketer trying to sell you something that is completely off-base (i.e. I received a call the other day asking me to sign up for a bridal magazine subscription–I’ve been married for 2+ years).
    PR is more about cultivating relationships and really knowing the person you’re calling. One of RepMan’s points is that this company–like so many others, and like so many bad PR reps–had no idea who it was targeting; not mention, it didn’t represent itself very well.

  9. It was a short-lived experiment conducted in the depths of the post dotcom crash and proved my point. As I recall, you didn’t end up drinking any coffee (which, as we know, is only for closers). As for media pitching, you’re absolutely right. but A has nothing to do with B.

  10. don’t believe in cold calls, eh? i seem to remember something called a new business committee whose job it was to cold call…
    and, isn’t pr essentially a pr person cold calling reporters to sell a story???