5 Ways to Respond to Bad Press
Raise your hand if you’ve experienced gossiping. Dealing with gossip is kind of like responding to bad press. It reminds us of being in school again, in that ultra-hormonal teenager environment with all the he-said & she-said drama. The truth can get so distorted, sometimes even kind of funny, if left untamed. So happy that’s over with!
There is an art to dealing with bad press. You have to handle stepping in without adding fuel to the fire. We know it’s very tempting to keep that same energy in the heat of the moment but don’t. Right now we’re like your business bestie telling you to not send that text to your ex after three shots of Patron except we’re talking about responding to bad press.
To drive this point home, we’re going to reference an old 2014 feud between a New York Times opinion piece and Walmart’s response. We’ll give you the Spark Notes edition: An opinion piece, written by the New York Times, said Walmart is a terrible company that doesn’t pay its employees a livable wage. Walmart was like “Um ok, but do you even know your facts though?” Let’s get started!
- Correct any false information.
Nip it in the bud as soon as possible. In the 2014 feud, Walmart did an amazing job of correcting false information as quickly and accurately as possible.
- Utilize facts to improve credibility.
Have some facts you can share? Great! Go ahead and plug those in to help add credibility to you argument. Here, Walmart shared studies and employee testimonials in a link to prevent the situation from becoming an even bigger mess full of false assumptions.
- Avoid appearing defensive.
You know what they say, “haters gonna hate.” So, don’t take the bad PR so defensively. As your company grows, so will the list of haters. One of the worst things you can do is make a statement clouded in emotion. If you can’t respond in a calm way, find someone in your company to help convey the right and most relevant points. Using humor is a great way to show you’re taking it lightly, just like Walmart did at the very start of their article when they said, “Tim – Thanks for sharing your first draft. Below are a few thoughts to ensure something inaccurate doesn’t get published.”
- Push other positives about the company.
Nobody’s perfect right? Although there might be some truth in the bad press you’re getting, chances are they’re only highlighting all the negatives. Use this as an opportunity to highlight the positives. Walmart did this by shedding some light on its American manufacturing.
- Take advantage of social media.
Social media can be your best friend but you have to use it. Leave it alone and everything can spiral in the wrong direction. You don’t need to wait for a press release to clear things up. You can use social media to respond immediately with your opinion to the public. In fact, Walmart’s post went viral which helped them rapidly clear up the New York Times opinion piece.
Even though you now you have the tools to deal with bad press, we know how difficult it can be to not only remember all this in the heat of the moment but also apply it. At Creative Label, our team can help you work through all your PR needs. Just shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can get started!