You don’t have to be a big company to deal with negative publicity. You can be a solo entrepreneur or small business and still find a way to land in hot water with your audience. Most brands handle these situations poorly.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to handle these situations. Telling you the wrong way doesn’t seem very productive to me and there are more than enough examples floating around the internet of how to do it wrong. Instead, let me give you some action steps on how to face a PR crisis…
First you must understand that at some point this WILL happen. No one is perfect, except God and look at all of the negative PR He gets! Every business makes mistakes and yours is no different.
Secondly, you must understand that every situation is changeable. The world is full of brands and people who’ve made mistakes and lived to fight another day. But it’s up to YOU to change the situation. Don’t rely on time to heal all wounds.
You must face it head-on. Anything else feels like evasion, which leads to defeat. Your success with dealing with negative publicity depends on how you react.
Here’s the steps you’ll need to take when facing it head-on:
- Be willing to admit the mistake. Own it. Weakly accepting responsibility is a mistake.
- Respond quickly. Turn hours into seconds. Never allow a crisis to sit & linger for 24 hours without doing something. (Do NOT delete or ignore your mistakes, people want to see you make things right.)
- Consider what you can do moving forward and think of a plan.
- Execute and act on your plan.
- Have patience and endurance. If you’ve hurt or offended people, they won’t get over that quickly. But they will get over it eventually, assuming you’ve handled the situation properly.
- Keep on your plan until corrected, over time.
- Understand you’ll screw up again but this time you’ll be better prepared to handle it.
Allow me to also point out that there’s a big difference between hate and complaints. Hate should be ignored, but a complaint should never be ignored. Real feedback isn’t hateful.
Finally, don’t just fix the error…plus it. Use it to become better than before. Go above and beyond making it right. You might just win some new fans in the process.
Photo by knowlidge