There may be no such thing as bad publicity, but there’s no excuse for bad PR, either. BP, Dr. Pepper, Facebook, Apple and several other heavy hitters have all turned to online PR management and social media PR this summer to put out well-publicized media fires. As we’ve learned, a well-placed, 140-character Tweet is worth a thousand words, and the right interview at the right time can rescue an entire company. But online PR is morphing into a powerful tool that reaches far beyond the scope of simple spin. Properly used, online PR can do double duty as a brand reputation savior.
This piece by Mark Chouette in Marketing Week outlines how PR has been placed in a position of saving a company’s image. Using BP as an example, Chouette points out how the exit of Hayward and the subsequent moves since are purely brand strategic on the part of BP. He also points out that thanks to online journalism and social media, brands now have a quicker response time than ever to combat negative publicity, a task that used to take at least 24 hours.
As we’ve talked about in this blog before, social media PR and online PR management are now in charge of the daily image tweaking and brand selling issues that were previously tackled by marketers. PR’s umbrella has widened so snafus by the big guys with endless resources are all the more excusable. This age of guerilla PR also means that thanks to the interactive nature of the Internet, a simple gloss over and manufactured apology won’t cut the mustard. This is excellent news for small businesses as it gives their own PR strategies a more conversational and approachable feel than ever before. Social media can be used to address unhappy campers right away, ending bad word of mouth. In short, our online PR management should work overtime with the media, consumers and contemporaries in good or bad times.