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“All publicity is good publicity,” someone way before the advent of social media once said. But when irate Facebook posts can be shared, and angry Tweets retweeted by thousands in a matter of moments, that paradigm no longer stands. (For an overview of the lifecycle of a ‘Twitterstorm’ check out this great, light-hearted article from Buzzfeed here.) What’s most concerning about the speed with which bad news can spread is that it can do so without being verified and in some cases can simply be factually incorrect – yet it’s still out there.
Take the example earlier this summer of a woman who took to Facebook to accuse a security guard at Primark – a leading value-fashion retailer in the UK – for ordering her out of the store for breastfeeding. Her post quickly went viral and was widely reported in the media. Primark were quick to respond, denying the incident had taken place and even saying that the CCTV footage proved the woman was lying. Unfortunately for the retailer, all this was lost in social media rage and online chatter calling for boycotts and other reprisals until the intervention of police caused the woman to have a change of heart and finally admit she had been lying all along.
But sometimes things do go wrong, people make mistakes, and damage is done. Many of us will have watched the emissions scandal unfold at Volkswagen through our fingers this summer, and questioned just how they will rebuild consumer trust and confidence – surely a long road ahead. Even some of the world’s best known brands aren’t immune from bad publicity. Apple has repeatedly come under fire for unsafe working conditions at its supplier factories in China and now directly addresses the issue and how they are working to resolve the issue on the Apple website.
Here at ARTÉMIA, we’ve worked with companies at every stage of the negative PR process. Of course, it’s pretty much impossible to be 100% protected but if the threat of bad publicity or a rogue online comment going viral is causing you concern, here are three things you can do for managing negative PR:
1. Mitigate risk before an event happens
Thoroughly analyze your marketing and social media strategy as part of a full review of your business, then highlight messaging and outreach opportunities to build positive coverage.
2. After the fact damage limitation
Should the worst happen, reframe the conversation by crafting powerful, authentic responses, utilizing our network of media contacts to get your story told.
3. Recovery strategy
Craft detailed, multi-tiered integrated marketing and communications plan that build trust, and positions your business where it needs to be.
As ever, if you have questions or concerns in this area, we’re here to help.
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