Companies will always come across negative PR at some point. No matter how hard we try to protect our brands and provide a good service, the world is full of unintended mishaps and our product or service may not always be delivered to the same quality that we expect.
You may also face a disgruntled customer who is hard to please and the result can be a negative review on social media that makes your business look bad. With this in mind, we provide some top tips to overcome negative PR.
Try to make things right
If you are dealing with an unhappy customer or complaint, try to make things right, no matter how unreasonable they may be. You can start by replying to their message on social media, email or complaint and trying to take the conversation private (and avoid it becoming a social affair). This is commonly seen on TripAdvisor by restaurants and hotel brands.
Offering a replacement product, refund, gift or simple apology can be sufficient to get the customer back on your side. If you can rebuild the trust with the client, you may be successful in kindly asking them to remove their review.
Make an official statement
For large firms that have dealt with PR disasters (Tesco and horse meat scandal), they will regularly issue statements on their websites or via a spokesman, to clarify any recent dealings and highlight their commitment and trust to their customers. This is a very popular way to put everything ‘out in the open’ and start rebuilding that relationship.
Put out new PR
If you have had negative PR online or in the press, you can always try overcome this with positive PR, perhaps highlighting something that you have done in the community or how you have helped others. Of course, you cannot expect every news outlet or journalist to pick up on it, but if you are always doing good things, this should achieve to help reposition your business. In short, you need to outweigh the negative with positive.
Following the salmonella scare for Cadburys, they invested heavily in TV advertising to rebuild trust with funny and entertaining adverts. This included the monkey playing the drums to the Phil Collins song. Overcoming negative PR can take time, but if you instil positive feelings in to the customers’ minds, you will rebuild the trust over time.
Hire a PR agency
You can always ask a professional PR company to help you overcome negative press since this is something that they are likely to have experience in and do for a living. Whether it is a specialist fashion or tech PR company, they can assist with your brand messaging, placements in the news or press or creating new PR opportunities to outweigh the last ones.
No such thing as bad PR …
Some marketing experts will claim that there is no such thing as bad PR and some companies have thrived off it, being the ‘hated’ brands or playing on the idea that not everyone likes them. Marmite have always joked about the ‘love it or hate it’ nature of their product. And some other companies have always been in the news for the wrong reasons but gained a lot of publicity as a result or thrived upon being ‘unpopular’, such as Wonga.com and Go Compare and their singing spokesman.