There is no such thing as bad publicity- or is there?

Way to come out of a sticky situation. Love it or hate it- marmite has weathered the recent Tesco-Unilever storm and come out on top.

The tar-like spread ubiquitous to British kitchen cupboards has topped social media sites and major news outlets alike. #MarmiteGate is here to stay.

Bad news, but good publicity.

It got me thinking about the old cliché that permeates the PR world. If people are talking about you, it’s good news, no matter what they’re saying.

Drama creates curiosity. Offending people gets attention. The forbidden fruit of PR.

It works for Katie Hopkins. Despite her questionable at best views, we can’t get enough of what she has to say. The more shocking, the better.

Let’s not forget that Donald Trump has built a presidential campaign around offensive bigotry, a true master of the dark art of bad publicity.

Matriarch of America’s most famous family, Kris Jenner, firmly believes that all publicity is good publicity.  In the eyes of the Kardashians, bad publicity sustains interest.

And remember Samantha Brick? The world went into a frenzy after she dared to call herself beautiful.

Creating a persona we love to hate appears to be a sure-fire way to grab column inches.

But succès de scandale is fleeting, and more often than not for brands, bad publicity sticks.

Just ask BP post gulf oil-spill. Or Lance Armstrong after his drug scandal.

What people think has the power to make or break a brand.

Toyota experienced a 10% drop in sales after recalls on faulty vehicles.

Clothing giant Abercrombie, while once on the backs of nearly every teenager in the country, is now fading into obscurity down to reports of discrimination and racism.

And let’s not forget Tiger Woods: the athlete has never managed to salvage his reputation following his affair scandal.

What seems to be the trend is that if you’re known for being hated, being hated continues to work. But for businesses, straying from brand promises and violating values important to your stakeholders is always going to mean bad news.

The fix? Know what your brand stands for and deliver on it. Communicate clear and honest brand values and if things go wrong, have a plan prepared to limit the damage.

The best publicity is always well-planned and well thought out, always be in charge of your reputation.

Unless you love to be hated.

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Cream

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