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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Combating negative publicity

I have worked with many clients who would freak out whenever there is a negative publicity about their company or services. Once we were a day before a through the line campaign launch and a negative piece, an unfair claim against client's negligence went on frontpage headline with a local paper and everyone went into panic mode. The newspaper offered to interview our client - a chance to clarify the situation but the board decided it was best to lay low on the matter - hoping it would go away.

Well it did - after putting all media on hold and changing some of the marketing messages from targeted to generic. At the same time we also lost the perfect opportunity to turn a negative situation into positive, and put multi-channel marketing into work by creating not just strong brand awareness but education to the public too on a product the market had very little knowledge of.

In Hjörtur's Positive Impact of Negative Publicity, "If you get negative publicity, use the opportunity to proof people wrong (unless they are right). Kaupthing, one of the Icelandic banks is doing this now. The British media published stories about the public withdrawing their money from their bank accounts in the Icelandic banks and Kaupthing published figures showing that last week was actually their best week ever, but not the worst as the media said."

From a digital marketing point of view, the best approach is to get positive publicity in front of the negative publicity until the negative publicity is pushed beneath the Top 30 in all of the major search engines. Keep in mind that less than 4% of internet search traffic goes beyond the Top 30 listings on any given keyword.

Be brave and turn negative into positive!

What are your thoughts?

in reference to:
"“Advertising Honesty” is not honesty. We’re talking “honesty honesty.” POV: Don’t be afraid of negative dialogue. It’s an opportunity to be responsive and be a good listener. Score points and reinforce brand values with your customers. It’s about people."
- Top 10 Reasons Your Company Is Not Ready For Social Media | (view on Google Sidewiki)

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