The first half of 2017 has seen its fair share of corporate public-relations mishaps, but some were more cringeworthy than others (hello Pepsi, United Airways). The fact remains that there is always a better and a worse way to talk to customers and the public when something has gone wrong. Here are a few lessons companies can learn from PR blunders so far heading into the next half of the year.
- Be self aware! Keep your brand in check by not only being aware of current social issues, but of the way in which your audience perceives your brand. This is relatively easy to do. Social listening is becoming increasingly popular, and can help your brand stay on top of what’s going on.
- Understand the implications of the digital age. It’s 2017. Thanks to the Internet, word of any incident can spread faster than lightning. Smartphones allow people to take photos, call friends and post online (which we know is how most of us get our information these days). While this doesn’t always mean mayhem, organisations need to be prepared for when it does.
- Admit your mistakes, and apologise immediately. This is an important one. Similar to more basic day-to-day situations, it is necessary to recognise defeat and regain respect from your audience when a mistake has been made. Research actually shows that if you are able to do this effectively, your customers will be more likely to show brand loyalty.
- Have your crisis management rearing to go at all times. No matter how great of a position you may be sitting in, whether it be beating the competition or selling the most goods, you never know when an issue may arise. It’s always best to nip it in the bud as soon as possible.
Remember - you lost control of your message the second it is disseminated. Your audience can take it however they choose. Do you have somebody in your team who is able to look at things more objectively before you put them out in the open? If not, we recommend you recruit one – before it’s too late.