For the past few weeks, we’ve been seeing big name companies being bombarded with bad press. From the Pepsi debacle to United Airlines, companies are making some questionable choices which can leave their customers and the social community outraged, but more so, how these things are handled can make or break a business. Many persons, to this day are still quite annoyed by the statement issued by United Airlines after they overbooked their flight and allowed one of their passengers to be physically assaulted and dragged from their aircraft. Stocks dropped to over a billion dollars in a matter of hours and passengers are refusing to travel with the airline.
In business, it happens more often than you think. Bad publicity can almost certainly lead to reduction in sales and if not handled correctly, can lead to total shut down and closure of a business. Social media can shine an unwelcomed spotlight on bad press as well and, within seconds, broadcast across the globe.
As a human being, you are learning and growing and it is certain that you WILL make mistakes here and there but there are ways to deal with bad press when it rears its ugly head.
- TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION
Within minutes of launching Pepsi was faced with a backlash of negative comments and within hours the ad was pulled. This is as swiftly as you need to move so as not to incur any further damage to your brand. Do whatever you need to do to rectify the situation before it gets out of control.
- OWN UP TO THE MISTAKE
Please do not play the blame game. As the head of your company, it was your responsibility….plain and simple. No one wants to hear that it was really your neighbor’s cousin’s pet owner that’s really to blame. The damage has already been done. Own up to it and apologize. Issue a press release stating the facts and answer all the relevant questions truthfully and factually. Do not try weasel your way out, it will never work.
- STAY VISIBLE
This isn’t the time to hide and pull the covers over your head (though you may very well want to). It’s not going to go away that easy. Your image has taken a hit so, more than ever, pay special attention to how you present yourself in public. Get out there, talk to people, shake hands and show them that you are still in the game. You cannot hide from it, so embrace it and move forward.
- REVISIT YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY
You business has taken a major blow and you need to now factor this in. What can you do to recover and get back into everyone’s good graces? What is the lesson learned? Clearly there was something that was not done previously, what was it and how can it be implemented now to help you overcome this? Depending on the extent of the damage done, you may need to embark on a public relations campaign to specifically address the situation.
Public relations is a necessary part of marketing and should never be overlooked. The way your company is presented and perceived to potential clients can truly assist you with building your brand. My advice would be to test out your ideas and campaigns first before you invest. It’s also best to hire a marketing & public relations expert to help you make the best decisions possible by employing the right tactics to achieve your goal.
So how is your business being seen? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get talking about a proper marketing strategy that can get your business showcased in the right way.
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