Social media outlets, like Twitter and Facebook, and now Google+, have given society ways to communicate across vast distances, leading to a networking revolution that has created communities with incredible potential. By harnessing the power of these outlets, businesses can sell products, build their brand, and interact with customers in ways that our parents and grandparents could have never imagined. However, this rapid communication and worldwide inter-connectivity also means that management faux pas and public relations tragedies can quickly overcome a business in a negative press nightmare.
Consider what first springs to mind when someone says, “BP.” Animals coated in oil, wetlands stripped of life and oceans slick with tar are generally what come to mind. A company previously known for environmentally-friendly research into alternative energy sources became the symbol of corporate mismanagement, overnight. (read our one-year-later BP analysis here)
Yes, that night, we were one of the firms who did get the 4am phone call from a client in need of some crisis communications. We quickly had releases on the wires, blog posts written and TV interviews scheduled to make sure our clients’ message (who will remain nameless) was clearly communicated in the most positive, effective light.
Also think of the many celebrities, who through a single recorded message, press conference, or tweet, tore down their personal brand image with shocking speed. The power of effective, efficient and SMART communication management in these situations cannot be ignored.
The saying, “all publicity is good publicity,” no longer flies in a world such as ours, where a lifetime of good publicity can be overturned by a single bad public relations decision. By a single driver going too fast in your branded vehicle, which quickly appears as a picture on twitter and a destructive message. Or by a minor case of the Mondays, taken out on the wrong person at your restaurant that turns into a 2,000-word Yelp rant.
Rather than try to rely on outdated methods of maintaining a loyal customer base, look to new methods and start to mold an online presence for your company that learns from the mistakes made by others. Your business will enter the World Wide Web with a relevant and reliable image, giving your product or service the positive and influential branding it needs.