Myth: All Press is Good Press

December 29th, 2016

Let’s face it. When we say “all” press here, we of course mean “bad” press. And that’s really the question at hand: is it ever a good thing to be in the spotlight for a bad reason? The answer: it depends.

The good news about bad news is people are listening. They want to hear what you have to say, which presents your company with an opportunity – a stage, if you will. Take advantage. Minimize the negative press, address it right away, and address it in a way that your audience will appreciate.

A good example of bad press gone bad.
Recently, Wells Fargo was in the media for opening two million fake accounts without customers’ consent. When news hit the stands, the bank chose to avoid responsibility and, instead, initially blamed the incident on its employees. In turn, customers and consumers were appalled, resulting in a 44 percent decrease in account openings less than three months after the story came out.

A good example ofbad press gone good.
When Reese’s rolled out its holiday line of Christmas-tree-shaped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, the shape was far from tree-like. So much so that people began complaining and calling out the candy on social media for being ugly. In response, Reese’s created the playful #AllTreesAreBeautiful campaign, which essentially celebrated the unexpected shape and brought awareness to “tree shaming.” Reese’s embraced the mistake and people loved them for it.

The lesson.
Your reaction to bad press is everything. Respond immediately, take responsibility and tell people what you’re going to do to fix it. Don’t be afraid to show some humility, and don’t be afraid to take some risks. More often than not, people respond positively to that.


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