What Happens in Vegas?

The phrase ‘What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas’ has a very interesting history.

The original (and official) campaign slogan for Vegas: ‘What Happens Here, Stays Here’ was penned by the advertising agency of R&R Partners, Inc. and the city began using the slogan on TV commercials in December 2002.

The more quoted ‘What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas’ was registered in Nevada as a trademark by Dorothy Tovar of Placerville, California in several applications dated between February 2003 and July 2004 and she began issuing licences through her company Adrenaline Sports to other companies to create branded underwear for sale in Nevada.

R& R claimed that Tovar’s federally trademarked phrase infringed upon its widely known “What happens here, stays here” slogan and commenced a lawsuit against her.

In a secret deal, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) sold its trademark interests in the slogan to R&R for $1.00 in a move intended to give the agency a better chance of fighting Tovar in court, then promptly changed its mind and began their own lawsuit against R&R to get it back again.

The upshot was that LVCVA won both their cases and so Las Vegas retained the rights to both phrases, although the ad campaigns still focused on ‘What Happens Here.’

This was back in the good old days of 2006, when story manipulation or suppression and image and reputation management were the domains of the heavy hitters in the industry such as Max Clifford, who often represented unpopular clients including those who wished to sell “kiss and tell’ stories to the tabloid newspapers. And if you didn’t like what was going on, you just fired up the suits to bring the top lawyers into play.

This was back in the day when ‘crowdsourced’ reputation – which is now the most powerful platform for building (or destroying)  a reputation –  was just a glimmer in the Nevada skyline.

Crowdsourcing is, the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.

The term has been around since 2006, but only now, with the rise of social media and portable internet-enabled media devices such as smartphones and tablets, has it really grown in importance. New terminology has been spawned based on the crowd principle and the term ‘crowdvoting’ is now used to define the aggregation of consumer reviews on a product or service.

 

Power to the People

A study done by Neilsen Media Research in 2012 suggests that 70% of all consumers trust, and indeed refer to, online reviews before making a purchase decision. This is a 15% increase since 2008 and makes online referrals a close second to personal recommendations. This gives credibility to the social proof theory, which explains the tendency of large groups to conform to choices which may be either correct or mistaken, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as herd behaviour.

Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behaviour for a given situation. This effect is most prominent in social situations where people are unsure about correct behaviour, and is driven by the assumption that other people possess more knowledge about the situation

 

The Amazon Factor

In 1997 Amazon introduced a new tool on the internet that was to change the face of buying forever: the online review. Online reviews had tremendous influence on consumers’ purchases since the potential buyer could read evaluations and opinions of the items they were considering purchasing. The initial reviews were confined mainly to the book market which was Amazon’s key driver at that time, but laid the groundwork for a revolution in the way we buy both online and offline.

 

Small Business and Reputation

The global influence of a company’s online reputation is enormous for a small business – over 80% of surveyed individuals prefer to do business with a company that has positive reviews.

Even institutions such as banks and investors will most likely look at a business’ online reputation to see if it is good for investment.

In today’s open-for-all social society, it is dangerous to ignore the effect that what is being said about a business or the owner of employees online can have on a business’s bottom line.

 

Although the restaurant business seems to be most impacted by online reviews, experts predict that doctors, contractors, surgeons, accountants and the majority of other local business owners will see more and more online reviews due to changes in search engines over the next year.

 

Reputation marketing and building a good online reputation are critically important.

However, they are not stand-alone growth strategies.

Reputation marketing yields the most positive returns when coupled with other online and offline marketing efforts since the effectiveness of these efforts are increased by a good reputation.

To paraphrase ‘What happens on the Internet, stays on the Internet’.

Note to LVCVA; I have no plans to create a new line of underwear. Lawyer intervention will not be necessary.