Getting past negative press.
It would be impossible to count the number of times that I have been awakened in the middle of the night with a panicked client on the other end of the phone. “What are we going to do now?” Clients react to negative articles or news pieces in a variety of ways, but most fear the worst, imagining the dark clouds coming his way. Crisis management is fundamental to public relations, and probably one of the more difficult aspects of what we do. However, we do it well.
Damage control is essential to any business enterprise, and to any public figure. Effective PR agents will have created situational scenarios, and more importantly how to respond to them, well before anything unfortunate should occur. That’s just the way it works, or should work. Never should a publicist be reactive to negative media. To the contrary, they should be proactive in solidifying credibility and maintaining the integrity of their clients’ image in order to weather the storm of bad press.
The reality of success is that it has its downfalls. Successful entrepreneurs or public figures will be the first to tell you that fame and fortune come at a price. Any fruitful endeavor will have critics, either consumers or competitors that will await the perfect opportunity to damage your brand. A simple scroll through Yelp reviews will serve as evidence. This, unfortunately, is inevitable. There will always be those that do not wish you well. Publicists must be in counter-attack and positive-spin mode at all times.
So, how does one recover from a negative headline, from an attack ad, from blatant slander? Albeit situational, the universal plan-of-action is to return to the positive. What made people fall in love with you to begin with? Why have you attracted such an audience over the years? What does your brand possess that others do not? The news cycle has a very short lifespan – 24 to 48 hours under most circumstances, and today’s headline will be tomorrow’s distant memory. That’s the nature of the business.
What clients need to be assured of is that they have acquired a public relations agency that has solid relationships with the media, and credibility and conviction to defend you or your brand at press conferences. We have both. Perception is reality, and a sound spokesperson reminding an audience that there are two sides to every story can be incredibly impactful. The public is much more forgiving than one would assume, and many times they need only to be reminded of the positive qualities that you or your brand possess.
Even on the darkest of days, the sun is surely to rise again. That is guaranteed. Confidence paired with a team of professionals is the best medicine for unpleasant press. Like a phoenix, you will recover and rise from the ashes.