In recent years, Pepsi and Nike are good examples of when things can go wrong on a global scale – and it’s then that your PR machine needs to step into action.
However, controversy can in fact be good for a brand – think of all those delicious column inches and online exposure. In fact, after a few weeks of seemingly scary times for Nike (The US President citing that you might be on a sinking ship is a little worrying – especially as such tweets against Turkey has been having dire effects on their currency), they shortly announced record sales.
Jordan Baker, CEO of Sanity Marketing who has worked with over 120 clients from the House of Commons to the Crowne Plaza Hotel chain, give us 5 top tips for coming out of a PR storm stronger than ever:
1. Apologise (publicly and unreservedly) – by addressing your actions and the situation at hand, it paints an image of honesty and authenticity. By discussing what happened in an open forum and being transparent, the PR storm will go from scandal to dull in minutes – nothing takes the wind out of the media sails like an apology. “Next!” the press will shout.
2. Do charity/ voluntary work based on what happened – if you repair those burnt bridges by helping out those you may have offended; your halo will be back in no time – and the press and public love a reformed sinner. Not only will you feel good helping out your local community or getting into an activist cause, but your image will be squeaky clean.
3. Work on yourself (publicly) – now, we’re not saying head to the Betty Ford clinic with a GoPro attached to your lapel but being open about how you’re rehabilitating yourself is PR panacea. It demonstrates to the world that you’re able to prioritise self-wellness and learn from your mistakes.
4. Keep social media to a minimum – becoming a digital Nomad is a key tool to weathering PR storms. Going on the down-low will help lower your profile in a productive way while the storm passes.
5. Stay out of the (negative) spotlight – become a Nomad in real life, too! That means no wild nights out on the town or major social functions. Focus your time on cultivating yourself, rather than boozing it up at product launches. By doing so, this gives the press no opportunities to damage your character and provides enough time to redirect and ameliorate any damage!