The ugly side of online publicity can bring down your brand fast and hard, if you do not hold your grip wisely over your online presence. So, we have summed up the art of dodging bad press, or even toning it down.
1. Do Your Research
First things first, marking something as safe to post online can be easily decided by a simple Google search. So, do not wait for your brand name to be drenched in bad publicity, just avoid addressing red-flagged areas from the start. However, remember it’s OK for your brand to have a fun, witty, even snarky voice. You can even express strong opinions to get attention, just make sure it is ‘safe’. But always remember to do enough research before posting anything online.
2. Controversy Should Not Be Your Cup of Tea
Sensitive topics that flame controversy are a big no when it comes to avoiding bad press. It can be argued that controversy can be used to spark up fame for your name, yes it can be true it done with wit, but in all cases stay away from topics such as: religion, sexuality, and politics and avoid campaigns that can be called sexist, out of touch, or body shaming. Don’t voice your opinion on a controversial matter without considering the fallout, even if you do come down on one side or the other.
3. Don’t Blame Others
Playing defensively, finger-pointing, and blame-shifting can only make the situation worse. Even if what happened is someone else’s fault, blaming them publicly can easily spark a backlash and make things harder for your business. Take them to task privately and work together to make the situation better, and do not be afraid to apologize to the disgruntled side honestly, or else you will communicate an irresponsible image to your customer.
Taking the blame professionally keeps you as a reliable and transparent name in front of your stakeholders.
4. Respond to Criticism Quickly and Professionally
Always keep a detailed plan on how to respond to criticism and how to handle worst-case scenarios like a pro; you never know when the wave turns against you in the market, so be prepared. Find out what the problem is and do your best to address it, and show that you are concerned to solve the issue. Just like KFC crisis and the fun campaign they did to respond to the nationwide disappointment (see PR to the Rescue #2: How the famous fried chicken brand became vegetarian for 7 days)
5. Make Them Forget by Outstanding Performance
The last piece of advice is to play the silent game. This should come last on your rescue plan list, when you run out of ways to make the tables turn in your favor. Backlash is a short-termed wave, it can cause loss but people forget as soon as it is not discussed anymore around them. No matter how much bad press you get, there’s always a way to make people forget what happened. One excellent way to do this is to outperform your competitors. Be silent and let your performance do the talking.
Let us know if you have more methods up your sleeve for avoiding bad press.