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“Instrybutor”, i.e. how Orlen became a police school on Google Maps

“Instrybutor”, czyli jak Orlen stał się szkołą policyjną na Mapach Google

A few days ago on the “Polish Internet” we could see a new viral spread with a dizzying speed and hit one of the gas station brands. Obviously, it’s about the now-famous footage of a police action at Orlen in Rymań, during which a woman impetuously drives into the building, while observers of the whole incident instruct uniformed officers what they should do. The footage made its way to YouTube, where it became very popular in a few hours, and has ricocheted, not only to the image of the Police, but also to Orlen itself, which seems to have no idea what is happening on their own brand’s Google business cards. How do you lose control of a brand and one of the most important media on the web in one day?

Viral footage of “instrybutor” and Orlen’s brand image problems

Occasionally, larger brands undergo an image crisis or experience PR slip-ups that do not reflect well on the brand as a whole. If this is the case, what matters is the business’s quick and appropriate response. An example is mBank, which last summer, as a consequence of a mistake, sent out test push messages to its customers with the content “ę¿”. The wave of outrage triggered by doubts about security at the brand’s bank was covered by a huge amount of viral content through memes. The bank itself took excellent advantage of the mishap and turned it into a joke, even changing its logo on social media profiles. The bank’s quick and amusing response eased the situation somewhat. The situation was already different with a series of serious security mishaps. Here, however, the brand took decisive action, which in the case of Orlen and the action with the now-famous “instrip” was rather received with silence about the topic.

The Orlen Group has been facing a considerable image problem for several weeks. A lot of criticism was directed at them in connection with the takeover of Polska Press and the appointment of Daniel Obajtek as CEO. Now they have added their five cents with an unsuccessful police action at a gas station in Ryman and a video that has become a new Internet hit. The viral as a phenomenon of rapid spread of extremely catchy and engaging content mainly concerns social media. It is difficult to keep it under control, especially because the content is created “bottom-up”. – they are created by online creators and ordinary users who distribute a given content or theme through various available channels as a joke. Once a brand ignores a medium or simply doesn’t actively conduct any activities there, the risk of losing control of its own image is considerable. This is what happened with the Google business cards of the Orlen network.

Local Guide Community on Google Maps

Google My Business Cards is a tool based on Google Maps and allows businesses to be found in local search results. By supplementing useful information, content and collecting reviews, it is an extremely useful medium to help gain new customers and website traffic. It’s also worth knowing that business owners are not the only Google Maps users who can edit the information posted on the maps.

For more on what Google business cards are and why you should keep them, we tell you in this article.

Google Maps can be defined as a hybrid between a business directory and a social media. The tool has lots of features similar to sites like Facebook and is constantly expanding its social features. In addition to the flagship ability to give an opinion on each location, liking reviews and photos, Google allows users to create Local Guide accounts. Who are they and who can be a Guide? Any Google Maps user who has a Google account actively edits various sites, adds missing information or reviews businesses. There are advantages and disadvantages to this, because as with any idea, at some point it comes into contact with reality, which verifies the initial assumptions of the creators.

This type of user can both support the quality and timeliness of the information on the maps, but can also add false and erroneous data – often malicious and ridiculous. Consequently, we have to deal with the plague of spam maps, i.e. false locations, which often take traffic away from correctly optimized Google business cards. Users can edit business information and change the name or category of the business, among other things. The Orlen chain fell victim to this type of activity in recent days.

Google business cards – what are we risking by not taking care of our brand image?

Following the viral video of the police action in Ryman, many of the network’s business cards were renamed by Google Maps users to the famous “instrybutor” as a joke. Several of them acquired not only a new name, but also the company’s category – that’s how the Ryman Police School was created with the name Instrybutor, and the brand seems to have no idea about it.

Google My Business cards

Google My Business cards

Typing ” instrybutor” into Google on the right side in the search results, a so-called knowledge panel appears, and on it are Google business cards (usually when you type in a branded phrase or name with an address extension). Here, just use the aforementioned keyword and we get the business card of an instrybuilder in the results. In a few days we managed to count a dozen of them and new ones are constantly being created. Consequently, a user who is actually looking for the nearest gas station may be greatly surprised or… simply go to a competitor, as he may not see that this “instore” is Orlen. How is it possible that such a big brand has not noticed this problem?

Well, the recipe is pretty simple. Many locations are automatically created in Google Maps based on national databases and information provided on websites. Sometimes businesses take no further action after posting a location on the maps. As a result, Google Maps is full of businesses of large well-known restaurant chains, stores or banks that do not have up-to-date opening hours or phone number. If the owner doesn’t care about the quality of the information in Google My Business, he probably doesn’t even log into the account and doesn’t know that the names of the chain’s business cards are being modified by random users.

Learn more about keeping Google business cards for corporations and franchise chains at this link.

Opinion on Google profile

Opinion on Google profile

Many businesses also seem not to care what is said about them online. Google Maps (and Google business cards) is one of the largest opinion-gathering mediums. While the giant has made many improvements to its reviews engine in the past year, it also has ambitious plans to import reviews from other places on the web as well. This makes it all the more surprising that some brands skip Google’s reviews section altogether, especially when we see a lack of response to extremely negative reviews. Similar, but with a more viral tinge, problems have Orlen. Some business cards have been flooded by a wave of ridiculous reviews, yet they have a big impact on which phrases a company is visible online.

How to prevent unwanted changes in Google My Business?

Above all, we should take care to be active in Google My Business. The tool provides us with the ability to globally manage locations, edit information, and reject edits proposed by Local Guides. This can be done from the panel for a group of locations by rejecting updates. We then have control over what happens on the locations we manage and can protect ourselves from such modifications or actions by competitors. Of course, not every medium has to be a brand’s priority for marketing communications, but by overlooking an environment with such an active community of users and also the largest feedback-gathering medium, we risk losing control and a poor image. Moreover, if a customer can’t find us because the company’s name has been changed, can’t contact us because the phone number is incorrect, and we don’t have a website connected to our business card – it’s hard to expect anyone to go to the trouble of placing an order or booking an appointment.


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