While a business or brand relishes the opportunity to be featured in the media, negative publicity can do a great deal of damage to a brand. Most businesses have a carefully thought out media plan which includes announcements such as product launches or company news. Such announcements are made by way of a press release or on social media, at a time that suits the business.
Unfortunately, the internet and social media have made the world a much smaller place and as such can mess with a brands timing for information release, or in some cases cause a negative uproar among its followers. The public now have so much information at their fingertips that brands have little opportunity to make a grand announcement of a new product or technology without someone leaking the news because information is available on an international website. How many times have we eagerly anticipated the release of the new model of iPhone only to hear reviews that its missing features doesn’t perform as well as the previous model?
While seemingly unfair, a business needs to be prepared for this and be able to acknowledge the claims yet communicate that their release is worth waiting for. A statement along the lines of: “While information may be available on model X, those specifications are relevant to the overseas model. The Australian model will have varying features and be unlike its predecessor or our competitor’s model.” A statement like this can go a long way in addressing claims of a models performance yet also help create anticipation for the local release.
This kind of instantaneous negative publicity also affects brands with existing products or services and to a point can be detrimental to a small business. A negative experience by a consumer or a general fault with the brand or its products can quite easily turn the media wheels in a negative direction and destroy consumer confidence in the brand.
How many times have we read a Facebook review of the local cafe that has appalling customer services? A brand or business needs to address these concerns. There may be a reasonable explanation as to why the customer service wasn’t great that day.
Some of the ways a brand can combat this is to jump onto the issue straight away. A press release, a public apology if necessary, offers of full refunds and acknowledgement of the problem can help a brand combat this.
Social media now plays a big part in consumer perception – it’s like word of mouth of steroids. It’s instant and has mass impact. A brand needs to jump on and appease their followers. If a customer takes to Facebook or Twitter and posts a negative review or comment, reply to it. Ignoring it only makes the claim seems true and you as a business are considered arrogant and uncaring. An acknowledgement could go by way of: “We’re sorry you had a bad experience but we hope you give us another chance so you can experience how good we are” or “We are grateful for your feedback. Please bring your product back into the store and we will issue you with a replacement or full refund.” These little things can turn a negative experience into a positive experience for the customer.