Is bad publicity really better than none at all? This question is not as easy to answer as it seems at first glance. Studies show that there is a big difference whether the circumstance concerns to an unknown or a well-known company. Bad publicity always hurts a famous brand a lot more – also due to its extensive visibility and the high amount of stakeholders that might be affected.
Of course, there are exceptions where the selective use of negative headlines can have a positive effect like increasing audience’s arousal and attentiveness to news content e.g. a company or brand. Nevertheless, the risk of damaging the carefully built corparate image is enormous.
What can definitely be a challenge, however, is the bad publicity that you have not produced yourself.
Depending on the size of the company and the individual case, considerable damage can already have occurred by the time the news come to your attention. At this point, the business would need to rush to analyse the cause of negative statements and develop a strategy – loosing even more and more valuable time.
While negative press cannot be completely prevented in many cases, one thing can definitely be avoided: wasting time. Thanks to modern media monitoring tools, it is now easier than ever to stay informed about current events in real time.
Depending on the chosen media monitoring service, users would receive a notification within seconds – via e-mail or through an online platform – everytime a headline in connection with the company appears in the media. That gives them the chance to react immediately and take appropiate measures.
The only question left now is: how should a business react to bad publicity? Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution for bad publicity, a few approaches have proven effective:
Stay cool. Keeping calm in crisis situations is a crucial skill, which is not easy to aquire, but it is absolutely necessary in order to make qualified decisions and to steer communication into the right direction.
Be aware. The next crisis may only be a headline away so prepare yourself accordingly. Even if you don’t need your crisis communication plan often, you will be glad to have it at hand, just in case.
Be quick. As soon as the bad publicity hits the media, the clock is ticking. The sooner you react, the faster you can take the wind out of the sails of bad publicity.
Be as honest and transparent as possible. Hushing up rarely works. Studies show that it is very much appreciated by consumers to admit mistakes, to communicate them openly and to provide transparent information. That creates a basis of trust.
Show a sense of humor. Those who show a sense of humor in critical situations can often score valuable points but be careful, there are topics where joking is simply not appropriate.
Let them forget. While the internet may not forget, users do – and you can influence that. If you manage to mitigate the effects of bad publicity or react appropriately to mistakes, consumers are quick to forget – or at least to forgive! On social networks, it takes an average of around two weeks for the turbulences to pass.
Even if a business has little control over which headlines about the company end up in the news, they can benefit from following a few basic rules and using modern PR tools such as media monitoring platforms. To find out more about the various possibilities of media monitoring, click here.
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