About a year ago, the world crossed Cameo’s CEO’S desk in a phone call from the NFL indicating that Bret Favre had been duped by a Supremacist group into filming a video filled with coded hate speech. Favre thought he was giving a shout-out to military veterans, but now his error was all over the internet and had become a fast spreading news story. Steven Galanis had been running Cameo as CEO since forming the company as cofounder.

Cameo’s product was a platform that pays athletes to make quick personalized videos – wishing someone a happy birthday or congratulating them on a very important accomplishment. The talent includes actors, athletes, YouTube stars, and each sets their own price from a few dollars to few hundred.

The company has facilitated 200,000 videos and up to this moment had no major problems. Mr. Galanis knew that his business was built on trust, and if the Celebrities don’t trust Cameo, they won’t use it – and that’s the end of the business. He came-up with the following one page plan that will serve as our management lesson: The plan was based on the following three points:

Management Lesson:

  1. Be open about the problem.
  2. Limit the damage.
  3. Create a solution for the future.

And to create an appearance of transparency, they asked each celebrity manager to reach out to that celebrity and brief them as to what happened and what Cameo was doing about providing a solution for this serious problem. Cameo took down Favre’s video from YouTube, Instagram, and other sources, but Cameo ran into a delay from all the platforms due to not classifying the contents as “hate speech.” Since Cameo owned the copyright, they reported it as a violation of the right and the videos disappeared quickly.

Within 24 hours, and without impacting Cameos business model, the Cameo IT team had built, – Nazi Bot – a filter that utilizes the Southern Poverty Law database of hate language and then looks for any signs of it in Customers’ video requests. If anything is identified, it’s flagged so a celebrity can proceed with caution.

Quickly, the CEO drove up to see Bret Favre and apologize in person. This move really impressed Bret and he shook hands feeling good about Cameo due to their forth-rightness and action oriented solutions. The result of all this is that Cameo’s sales went up 100% week over week. The company only lost one celebrity over this, plus Bret Favre is still with the company making $500 per video.

Steve Galanis, thanks for sharing this story with us, of how you were about to lose your business and your realization of the importance of TRUST that needs to exist between both the owners of the business and its Customers. The three steps while looking like they represent common sense, are really powerful solutions that in most cases are overlooked and replaced by ineffective ones.  We ask the question – are you ready to solve a downside problem if needed?