Is bad publicity 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 it relates to an unknown or a well-known company. Bad publicity always hurts a famous brand a lot more. Of course there are exceptions where the selective use of negative headlines has had a positive effect - nevertheless, the risk of damaging the carefully built 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. Then it is necessary to analyse the cause and develop a concept - while more and more valuable time is lost and the news keep spreading.
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. If a headline in connection with your company appears in the media, you will receive a notification within seconds so you can react immediately - the only question left is how.
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 prepared. Always be aware that the next crisis may only be a headline away and prepare accordingly. Even if you don’t need your crisis communication plan often, you’ll 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 forgive. On social networks, it takes an average of around two weeks for the turbulences to pass.
Even if you have little control over which headlines about your company end up in the news, you 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.