Insights & News

You Can’t Kill A Negative Story Or Statement

Public Relations Negative StoryThis week there have been a few highly publicized online disasters that remind us of some critical advice we always share with clients. These are simple tips to prevent or combat a negative story, but the simple advice is always the easiest to overlook.

Everything you say in public (including online) is on the record.

“Everything you say in public is on the record” is the most cliché thing that public relations people say to clients. It is also the easiest thing to forget! Tweets, Facebook posts, Yelp reviews and comments are all public facing, and on the record… indefinitely.

If your brand ends up in a crisis situation, people will take the time to research your past to find juicy nuggets. Be on your best behavior online, and you’ll never have to worry about this happening to your brand.

Have you received negative exposure? Take a deep breath. Stay cool.

Now that your brand is in a tight spot, people are paying more attention to what you say and do than usual. In many cases brands take to the web in self-defense, and later pull that content down. When brands do this during a crisis situation, those deleted comments circulate around the web anyway. They don’t disappear, and brands usually can’t make them disappear no matter how hard they try. See: Amy’s Baking Company and Applebees.

Assume the negative coverage will resurface.

Stories on the Internet live forever. You probably know this fact, but these crises serve as a reminder that old posts don’t disappear. For example, this week Abercrombie is facing backlash from an article written in 2006. Your negative coverage might get buried in search, but it can always circulate again. This happens all the time.

What can brands do to be proactive?

Prepare a real-time crisis plan, and execute upon that plan. When the situation has blown over, create a long-term plan for how the brand will respond if the article resurfaces.

Anything else you’d add?