All PR is good PR, right?
Anything or any advertisement that brings attention to your business theoretically should be good for business, you would think. Just because your corporation is being talked about in the news because of the financial scandal that it was involved in last week, could be enough attention to bring in a few more customers, right? What about the “questionable” employment practices that your company embraces that got them a court summons to explain said practices – – you would think that the attention from it would be flattering for your company. Not so. No, all PR is not good PR and your company should take measure to protect themselves and their brand in any way or ways possible.
But, is it really even possible to protect your brand and your brand’s image without getting a few nut jobs that could out-do what you’ve worked so hard to mold? Oftentimes, years of hard work and playing by the rules can all be undone with a couple of poor choices and not well-thought out decisions.
The Coke brand was affected in a positive way by two Facebook users who weren’t satisfied with what they were finding on their favorite social networking site in the Coke venue and decided to start their own following…without the express permission from the Coca-Cola executives that is. But, this story has a happy ending as Coke actually embraced their proactive measures and wanted to (of course) capitalize on what the Coke evangelists had started. Although Coke “didn’t want to have anything to do with it directly”, they still worked with the two writers and seemingly didn’t have a problem with what they were doing.
But all stories don’t have such a happy ending.
The Smarties candy company ‘smarted’ about what some young folks were doing with their brand. More specifically, they were smoking smarties. Not so good for the Smarties company and not so good for this type of viral YouTube messaging to be such a popular place on the internet. Things like this is what can give your brand a bad reputation and a bad name. Since you can’t control what people do and other people’s behavior, what can you do to limit the instances that your brand is mentioned in a negative context? What can you do to make sure that your brand gets good PR and leave the negative stuff for losers?
1. Sing praises
No, not to the Almighty, but to your brand. Take all available opportunities to shed positive light on your brand. Whether that’s through the engagement of social networking sites (like the Coca-Cola evangelists) or through your marketing efforts, know that you just cannot say enough good things. A little conceited? Sure but who else is going to do it if you don’t at least spark it.
2. Acknowledge the defectors
Some would say you should ignore them, but I say don’t. People who try and hi-jack your brand (in the sense) are often just vying for attention, almost like children. Like in the case of Smarties smart-pants – – they wanted to show that they could do something that wasn’t right with the Smarties candies. My solution would have been to issue a commercial or even another YouTube message that shows the dangers of teenagers and smoking. Counter-balance the negative attention with a positive spin.
3. Lower your expectations.
Yes, your brand is wonderful. Yes, your product is amazing. Yes, there is no other business anywhere else who can work magic quite the same as you. But, no matter what, people are people and there’s not a thing that anyone can do to change them. For you to think otherwise or to try and change them is a fruitless effort and can bring on unlimited frustration.
When you protect your brand and control your brand’s exposure, you are not going out and “getting” everyone who dares to speak against it. This can make you look like a marketing bully of sorts. But what you are doing is simply controlling and keeping under control the amount of PR attention, whether negative or positive is in the consumer’s faces. Instead of playing media police, become their friend and work towards the effort instead of against it. It should feel a whole lot better.
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