A Public relations crisis can be the death of a business if not handled properly. Small incidents such as misspelled social media posts all the way to a scandal involving illicit activities can tarnish the reputation of a company in the public’s eye.
Legally, companies must protect their customers. Socially, this duty expands beyond safeguarding their best interests to doing so in a way that maintains a positive brand image at all times. Small public relations incidents for businesses, if not handled swiftly and professionally, can cause a revenue-declining backlash that is hard to recover from.
In August of 2018, one sick employee contaminated a batch of food at a Columbus, Ohio area Chipotle restaurant. When word of the contamination spread, Chipotle faced a significant amount of negative attention in the press. It took over a week for the company to own the fact that the incident, while not directly their fault caused harm to the very people they are supposed to delight.
The response from Chipotle’s senior management team was emotionless at best. Rather than getting out in front of the problem, taking actionable steps to solve it, and apologize for their mistake, Chipotle fell silent.
This silence, in conjunction with additional instances of bad press, caused consumers to harbor a lot of distrust with the brand. Revenues have declined by 5% over the past year, and have yet to make a return towards the green.
These incidents often happen, regardless of industry or the size of the company. To recover from a fumble, companies in trouble can follow three fundamental steps to recover from a public relations nightmare, regardless of the incident’s scale.
Own It – mistakes happen. Regardless of whether the incident is the direct fault of an employee or not, owning the event is crucial. The public associates the locations and employees of the company as being one and the same, and anything that occurs between those key things falls under the responsibility of the business.
Apologize – saying “sorry” helps. Apologies further demonstrate the sense of ownership and remorse that is important for building and repairing trust with your clientele after a crisis incident.
Make Amends – seeing is believing. Saying sorry is one way to correct a problem, but it is often just the first step in a more extensive journey that involves making it up to those wronged or harm. Words are a powerful tool to make amends, but they require an act demonstrating the sincerity of such to have an impact.
These three steps to help recover your business from a PR nightmare may seem like common sense but are forgotten frequently in the heat of the moment. Finding a trusted partner who can ensure that your business’s positive image is maintained at all times, even when you are busy putting out metaphorical fires at your company, is one way to ensure that any unforeseen “black swan” events do not cause any irreparable harm or damage time-honored hard work.
Do not wait until it is too late to have a crisis management plan in place. Neglecting to plan ahead can be detrimental to your business, just as Chipotle experienced in August.
Image Marketing Consultants specializes in protecting and maintaining positive public relations for clients, regardless of industry or domain. If you are interested in learning more about how we can craft a public relations or marketing strategy to protect your business’s image, reach out, and a member of our team will schedule a time to discuss the future of your business in this ever-changing world.
There are many ways to get on TV nowadays (scandals, PR nightmares, crisis’s of one form or another)- if you’re a business owner; it’s better to be on TV for the right things, rather than the wrong. Getting exposure for your business on local or national television programs seems hard at first, but in reality, it is easy when you have chosen the right public relations partner.
The process of getting your business on TV usually involves purchasing advertisements or commercials. While these seem like the natural thing to do when trying to grow your business, you must remember that these types of marketing campaigns are ones that people will do anything to avoid being bothered by.
For viewers, TV commercials interrupt the show that they were watching, and may not be all that relevant for their interests. If viewers aren’t actively engaged with the ad, there is a chance that they will not remember it at all, let alone frequent your business to help recoup some of the money spent on the campaign.
This type of marketing is expensive, especially for what you get. The opportunity to purchase advertisements on television is attractive at first, but often the budget that a small or medium-sized business can afford on a video falls short of what more prominent and established companies such as Coca-Cola and Home Depot spend on higher quality recordings.
Instead of trading off quality (lower quality videos) for quantity (showing those videos on television), consider television appearances that are more natural, especially ones that viewers want to tune into. Rather than trying to get airtime between the shows that viewers are watching, why not get on the shows themselves? Appearing on television segments that compliment your business is one way to gain exposure in front of those that are the most interested, without breaking the bank.
These segments often feature local businesses; products made locally, or promote the newest trend on the market. If your business falls into one of these categories, you are already at an advantage. Tapping into these creative alternatives to commercials is one-way build meaningful connections with potential customers. Naturally occurring television segments on news shows capture the attention of those interested for less money than the alternatives.
Now armed with an understanding of the benefits surrounding appearing on television segments rather than commercials, you can work on securing your appearance slot.
One way the easiest ways to get noticed as a viable candidate for one of these coveted spots is to find a local public relations consultant that is well connected with local media stations. Some media companies do not accept unsolicited segment suggestions- requiring that you go through a third party. This third party should be well connected to secure a prime-time segment spot as well as one or more appearances in other areas as well.
The value of using a person or company like this goes beyond the connections shared with the station. Experts with knowledge in public relations and marketing are able to offer suggestions that will frame your business in the best possible light to promote your goals. One of these techniques may include strategic ideas such as coming up with a promotional campaign that will be featured on the show that allows you to demonstrate your product to the audience, and also track how many customers it generated after seeing your segment.
Once you’ve made it on the big screen, it is essential to understand how your strategy helped to grow your business and this method is one way that can do so in an accountable manner. Regardless of what marketing strategy you choose to gain exposure for your business, make sure that you select a partner who has your business in mind at all times. Forming partnerships with marketing and PR firms that are able to deliver growth and exposure for your company will ensure that you have access to the brightest minds who take your business’s strategic growth to heart at all times.
Image Marketing Consultants is a growth-oriented advertising agency specializing in creating public relations strategies that have helped national businesses beat their sales and marketing goals. If you are interested in having your business featured on local or national television, contact us to speak with a member of our team to propel your business into the television spotlight.
Three notable business quotes from three notable personalities. Take these to heart as you continue to plan the way you run your company or organization, and as you develop the ways in which you need to work with the people you bring on board:
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” – Henry Ford
“A business has to be evolving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative interests.” – Richard Branson
What does your company do to reach out to your employees and clients? There are many options for this – social media, email, mailings, or an online newsletter. Your company can do all of the above, but a great way to know that you are getting in touch with your audience is to use an e-newsletter!
For many of our clients, we create a monthly or quarterly newsletter to send out! The service that we like to use is Constant Contact. The website is accessable, the templates are clean and easily customizable, and the analytics show up as soon as you send your newsletter out.
A newsletter can benefit any company! If you are sending out emails to your employees all the time, it might be easier to put all of that information into a compact newsletter that they can read either on their phone or at their desk. If you want to alert your customers about sales, or give them tips from the industry, its easier to put a lot of information onto the newsletter, versus a social media post.
Newsletters also drive people to your website. For many of our clients, we link information back to the site, by adding a ‘read more’ button. This helps your business show up higher on the google algorithms. It is a simple way to help your websites visits per day, and SEO. In addition to this, we also include links to their social sites – such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Helpful tips for a company newsletter:
Do a fun employee of the month post or employee spotlight
Highlight birthdays that are coming up within the month
Create an event section to keep your employees informed
Include a hard news article in the newsletter
Use at least 3 pictures – visuals keep readers interested!Helpful tips for a customer newsletter:
Incorporate at least one picture per article in the newsletter
Connect all social media on the letter
Put at least one ‘read more’ button to your site
Do a fun monthly Q&A, recipe, or interactive contest
Be sure to use a mobile friendly template
Keep it short and sweet
Write a catchy subject line that you would open!
There are always ways to improve your communication with all of the contacts that your business has, and a newsletter is a great addition to your PR and marketing toolbox.
At Image, we are always coming up with new ways for businesses to market themselves! One of our Team members, Alexa, is our social media marketing guru. Alexa has been with IMC for over a year, she started on the team as an intern last summer. She goes to Quinnipiac University and is studying Public Relations and Public Relations.
Why did you want to join the IMC team? Last year I really wanted to find an internship where I would be able to learn a lot, and that would challenge me. I didn’t know that I would be joining such an amazing team and getting my first job in PR!
What is your favorite thing about Public Relations and Social Media? I love that PR works so well with social media. I think that so many people can benefit from using social media every day no matter what type of business they own. It is a great way to show off your business and it’s free! So it’s a win win. I love being on social media and finding out all of the trends. When I tell people that I am on Facebook all day at work, they don’t understand how hard I am working for businesses!
What does your day to day look like? Every day at IMC is different! We have a diverse set of clients and I love working with everyone. Whether its making up some social posts, newsletters, or blogging for a client I am always ready to work. We love to go out and grab lunch from local places, and sometimes we work as a team in the conference room. There are always new things to work on!
If you could be in any city in the world right now where would you be? I would be in Florence probably! It was an amazing experience to travel abroad and as much as I do love CT, I love Italy even more.
How many pairs of shoes do you own? I own probably over 50 pairs, but I honestly wear about 10 of them! I love finding them both fashionable and comfy making them perfect for the office! (Which you should checkout our Instagram to see our future Tuesday Shoesday posts!)
Favorite food: Tacos
Cat or dog: Cat! I have a fluffy fat cat named Buddy
Pen or Pencil: I use pens all the time, but I like that pencils can erase your mistakes!
Beach or mountains: Beach
Instagram or Facebook: Instagram
Most-used app on your phone: Facebook!
Two words friends would use to describe you: Bubbly and ambitious
Favorite hobbies? I love to play tennis, horseback ride, and go diving
What are you currently watching: Scandal and The Office
In 2016, you’re most excited for: Starting my senior year of college and going on amazing trips