What To Do If There Is Bad PR?
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What To Do If There Is Bad PR?

Stop, drop, and take action.

What To Do If There Is Bad PR?
Austin Distel, Unsplash

Whether the company said or did something wrong, there is a department in charge of crowd control, public relations. Public relations by definition from Google is, "The professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person." Every business will face a number of crisis and this is where they have to stop, think, and then decide what to do. If you are new to public relations or need a refresher, here are five extremely important aspects of PR that people should do if there is bad PR.


The mistake that some companies do is they wait until the problem dies down. That is never the case, in fact, by doing that shows no social responsibility. What could that lead to? It leads to a significant decrease in profit, bad image, market value decreasing, and it could cost anybody a lot of money. So what should companies do in order to prevent as much chaos as possible? The best thing to do is take action. Taking action can mean a number of things: Addressing the problem to the public, develop new methods to prevent another bad situation from happening, or build back up customer loyalty. When it comes to addressing to the public, it must be peacefully done. Companies should never blame the media, people, or whoever. They have to understand their mistakes and must accept that it happened. A prime example of a company that took action immediately after bad PR was Johnson & Johnson. In 1982, Johnson & Johnson's Tylenol was laced by someone with cyanide which resulted in seven people dying. This led to a mass number of people panicking and their market value started to decrease. Johnson & Johnson recalled the item as soon as possible as well as creating tamper-proof packaging to prevent such thing to occur again. The biggest thing about this case was they were able to understand that this is a social responsibility that they must accept and must gain trust by the consumers once again. As we know it today, Tylenol still exists. Key component here, they took action as soon as possible.

Be Honest

No matter how bad it is, people deserve to know what is going on. Hiding it is going to make it worse especially if there is a leak that goes out to the public. Some people will disagree that being honest is a bad thing and that it would cause more backlash. I would not say that is the case one hundred percent of the time, but think of it this way. Giving vague ideas of how bad it is will make people confused more and the bigger picture would not be there, thus rumors can start. They have to understand what it is you or the company are trying to do. If you can believe that everybody is in it together to overcome these challenges: A toxic item found in food, a poorly messaged commercial, whatever it may be, if you can say and stand with the people to overcome these challenges, that is what will make you a better leader. It shows that your company or whatever may be is at least trying to reshape itself into something better. But make sure when crafting the message, assure the people that it would never happen again. Depending on what the legal team says because sometimes admitting can be a legal issue, just be honest. No good comes with covering up the facts because what then will that say about your company or whoever you work for?

Pay Attention To What The World Is Saying

So what happens now that the story is out? Make sure there is a team of people who monitor what people are saying whether it would be on social media, blogs, or the local news. Especially in a qualitative stand point in stocks, what people are saying will impact your company. There will be allegations, negative comments, and other negative things, it is most important to speak with the people. If these things do not settle down, it is going to make it an even bigger problem and will go public even more. Make sure to show care with the people. As I will discuss soon, people matter more than profits and you will not profits if there are no people.

Do Not Focus On Profit

Another common mistake is that some companies focus on their profits more than the consumers. When it comes to business or selling in general, the people are always most important. A large percent of people never take the time to ever care about the consumer, all they care about is, "What can I do to milk as much money as I can from this person?" If that is how a person you know works, they are not fit to be a part of that business or do business at all. What good will you have if you are hit with bad publicity? There is already bad reputation, so why would anyone want to use or buy whatever it is you are selling? It does not make sense at that point, so always focus on the people. ALWAYS. As mentioned before, it is a social responsibility at that point if a company is slammed with bad publicity in regards to its consumers. Do not cover up the incident, that makes it worse. It saves money sure, but good luck gaining money when the incident is leaked. Then what is going to happen? A possible law suit, loss of market value, no investors, or even bankruptcy. At that point, it is arrogance and greed and nobody wants to be associated with that. That is what happened to Exxon when there was an oil spill. It costed billions of dollars and not to mention, they went from being the top player to being the third best. The biggest question when faced with these situations is how do you want to be perceived to the world?


After all that disaster that happened, what should you do now? You cannot act the way that you were back then. You cannot say whatever you said, you cannot be careless about whatever it is that went wrong, none of that can happen ever again. The best thing to do, even as a life lesson is to ignore the past and focus on the now. As Robin Roberts said, "Make your mess your message." Let that mess be a message for others to not follow what you did. Let that experience be a message for them to open their eyes more and pay close attention so that they will not make the same mistakes that you or your company did. Most importantly, do not repeat history. Improve what needs to be improved and do not make the same mistake again.

Now with the given information that I have given out to you, I now ask, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to hide the problem or share?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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